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For China's political and entrepreneurial female elites, it's not easy to find a look that balances glamour, authoritativeness and cultural identity. Models wear creations by Grace Chen during a runway show at Lancaster House in London in June.
Located in a heritage villa built in the 1920s in Shanghai's former French concession, the three-story mansion designed by Italian firm Kokaistudios incorporates a showroom, fitting salons, an art gallery, a library, a fashion lounge and a VIP suite. It also displays all of Chen's previous collections, including her Little Red Dress from 2013, Little Romance from 2014 and Little Story from 2015. Following her shows in Paris, Moscow and Brussels, Chen held a runway show at Lancaster House in London in June, as part of the celebrations of the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.
The show saw more than 40 gowns presented by professional models, socialites and aristocrats, a runway tradition for the Grace Chen brand. The cast included a descendant of the Russian royal family, Princess Olga Romanoff, and philanthropist Ella Mountbatten. Backed by an investment from private equity firm Cheng Wei Capital, Chen is now eyeing a bigger audience globally. Besides a salon in Beijing and the House in Shanghai, Chen plans to have a studio either in Paris or in London. She is also considering a store in Hong Kong or Macao to cater to the Southeast Asian market. A pioneering couturier in China, Chen is confident about the potential of the market in China. Meanwhile, Chen is considering developing a line that targets young, urban professionals between 25 and 40. This semi-couture line will use computer technology to customize outfits based on a customer's measurements. It will likely be launched online at a much lower price point, but will be in line with the classic style of the main couture line, she says. Born in China in the 1970s, Chen acquired a master's degree in fashion design from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology before studying fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Chen's work, which fuses a Chinese spirit and craftsmanship with Western tailoring and aesthetics, is free of obvious, extravagant Chinese elements that are often found in China-inspired fashion. Chen's clientele includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Helen Mirren, Yue-Sai Kan, Yang Lan and Liu Xiaoqing. Besides customers from the political and business worlds, she also has the newly rich, who tend to follow the latest trends. She says the most important clients in the future will be young, successful professionals in the technology and finance sectors, many of whom are between 35 and 45. But many of these city farmers have realized that the attraction of getting back to basics also has its unattractive sides, such as the hard, usually thankless work needed to successfully grow crops.
The allotment, one of the first in Beijing and one of the biggest, covers more than 90,000 square meters and includes 500 allotments of 66 sq m for rent. In 2011 it established another area of more than 100,000 sq m that was given the name Little Town Farm, not far from Nanyuan Village, including 400 allotments of 36 square meters each. Apart from a restaurant, the farm has also built dozens of wooden houses for people to stay over, and game centers where children can get to know farm animals, including peacocks, chickens and horses.
The two farms are very close to the city, which is a big advantage, he says, adding that tap water, farming tools, organic fertilizers and technical advice is available to customers free of charge. Most of those in the two farms are loyal customers who have rented plots since it opened, Shang says. Li Zhanming, 67, started renting a plot from the farm, a few subway stops from his home, three years ago. Li says he visits his plot every afternoon to take care of the crops, watering them, removing weeds and pruning, and taking a stroll afterward.
About eight years ago, he was obese and had heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes, and he tired easily, he says. Now, about seven years after he started farming, he says, the only one of those ailments he still has is diabetes, which is under control.
Li attributes the improvement in his health to his willingness to put in a lot of hard work on his plot and to the happiness he derives from that. Farming has given him a new perspective, he says, one in which crass materialism has given way to a much more peaceful and tolerant disposition. He is so wrapped up in farming that even when he is not at his plot he is busying searching for tips on farming and new technologies online.
Her family started farming this year in pursuit of healthy eating, fearing pesticide-tainted vegetables at the market. They soon realized that farming provides far more than healthy vegetables, and farming on weekends has become a regular family activity. Her parents visit the farm every other day and are involved in everything, applying organic fertilizers, turning the soil, sowing, watering, weeding and harvesting. Her son also loves the farm, enjoying leisure time that is unlike that of his city friends. However, Li and Xie say it is difficult for young people to work on the farm regularly if they are busy and are not that keen on farming. Xiang Bing says the values that China can bring to global development are not military or economic power, but leadership in business ethics. Chinese companies need to champion social responsibility in their global expansion process to gain respect from the international community, says Xiang Bing, founding dean and professor of China business and globalization at Beijing's Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. By gaining respect from the global community, China and Chinese firms can take a lead role in the rapidly changing global business landscape as it undergoes a process of reconfiguration, and play a significant role in accelerating the creation of a good global governance system, says Xiang. He has been a keen advocate for the concept of a new business civilization over the years, and communicated this idea to many Chinese businesses executives who are alumni of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, China's first privately funded and faculty-governed business school, founded with the support of the Li Ka Shing Foundation. Founded in 2002, the school has globalized extensively in recent years through collaborating with Western academic institutions, including Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and the Swiss business school IMD. Xiang, who received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Xi'an Jiaotong University in China and doctorate in business administration from the University of Alberta in Canada, was one of the seven founding faculty members of China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.
He says one big problem lies within the China-US relationship, as both are major economies but have not reached consensus to work together on many issues, such as the creation of a coherent global trading environment.
For example, in the area of trade, various US-led and China-led packages exist in the world, which paints a system less efficient than if the two countries worked hand in hand to create a coherent global trade environment, Xiang says.
The US led the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement signed by 12 countries accounting for 40 percent of the global GDP. The other US-led key free trade agreement is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, and is seen by the US to be a companion agreement to the TPP.
Meanwhile, China led the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to fund the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, with the aim that connectivity will boost regional trade and investment ties. Xiang says such division of trade into camps is a hindrance for global trade, and results from different thinking and expectations between the US and China behind existing trade organizations like the World Trade Organization. He says one root cause of the trade divisions is the different understanding the two countries have over the implications of China joining the World Trade Organization in 2001. Back then, the US wanted to gain certain benefits by supporting China's joining the WTO, such as gaining more access to China's market, encouraging China to take on more global responsibility and encouraging China to support the US on important global issues, Xiang says. A decade later, when the US assessed that many of these expectations had not been achieved, the US started to lead discussions on trade agreements that do not include China, like the TPP and TTIP, Xiang says. He adds that another trigger point for the US to embrace China in the global trade system is the threat that China brings to its global prominence.
Xiang says these tensions all result from a "reconfiguration of the global trading system", which is an extension of the fractures from the China-US relationship. If solving the US-China issue is the key to creating the foundations of a new global governance system, then Xiang's suggestion is for the Chinese government to encourage key US multinational firms to be the lobbying forces for better US-China relations. He says cooperation with US firms is the most effective channel of building good bilateral relationships, which is currently not being effectively used.
Meanwhile, Xiang points out one key factor Chinese firms need to consider in their globalization strategy is to do business in a sustainable and responsible way. Jeffrey Wasserstrom says it is a challenge to be a historian of China because it is a country where history always matters.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom says Oxford wanted the book on Chinese history to be used as a textbook but also an enjoyable read. The 55-year-old leading China expert from the United States was speaking at Bedford Hotel in London, where he was appearing in a series of events to launch The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, of which he is the editor.
The book, which has taken four years to produce, is the first significant Oxford history of China. Slightly smaller than a coffee table book and beautifully illustrated, it covers the period from 1550 with China in the ascendancy during the late Ming period to the present day. Wasserstrom, who wrote the introduction and a chapter dealing with the 1990s, himself selected the authors, some of the leading writers on China today.
He believes the first chapter by Dutch social and cultural historian Anne Gerritsen on the late Ming and the early Qing period is among the best. Although the book is chronological, all of the chapters stand alone in their own right and contain interesting analysis of the period they focus on.
Wasserstrom, who was born in Palo Alto but mostly grew up in Santa Monica, made his first connection with China as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
He went on to do a master's in East Asian studies at Harvard University and then a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, where he came into contact with the great China historian Frederick Wakeman, who was a major influence. Wasserstrom has held academic posts at both Kentucky and Indiana universities before moving in 2006 to the University of California, Irvine where he is now Chancellor's professor of history. He has also worked for the American Historical Review and the Journal of Asian Studies but is perhaps most widely known for his previous well-regarded and insightful book, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, of which there is to be an updated third edition next year. That the book is an Oxford effort but edited by an American brings into question the debate as to whether there is a difference of approach between the study of China in the UK and the US. Wasserstrom says it can be difficult creating interest in the histories of non-Western countries, although China is at least becoming an exception to that. Wasserstrom says this can be true of China with the Taiping Rebellion being less well known that the American Civil War, which took place at almost the same time. Wasserstrom's next major project is going to be a history of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, which he believes is a much misunderstood period of Chinese history.
He says it is still best known in the West from the 1963 Charlton Heston film, 55 Days at Peking. When Abbas Kdaimy made his first trip to China, his knowledge of the country was limited to what he'd read in school textbooks. He moved to Beijing from Baghdad as a news editor for the Xinhua News Agency after the Gulf War of the 1990s and the ensuing United Nations sanctions that took a heavy toll on Iraq's economy. Kdaimy arrived in Beijing alone in the summer of 1998 and says he was struck by the booming economy that stood in contrast to his country. In the early days, the family had to overcome challenges like finding an Arabic-language school for the children, and finding halal food.
Despite living away, Kdaimy says his heart is with the Iraqi people and that he always looks out for news about his homeland. He recalls one of his last difficult moments came on March 19, 2003, when the United States decided to invade Iraq.
He went to enjoy the Games and shared his knowledge of China with people from other countries at events when he had the time.
The next year, he joined Foreign Languages Press as a translator and editor and has been amazed by Chinese literature ever since. In past years, he has participated in translation projects of Chinese classics such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms from English to Arabic. It took him and his colleagues three years to complete the Three Kingdoms project, with the Arabic edition to be published this year. During the process, Kdaimy says he often went back to the finished pages when he came up with better phrases. He has also worked on many other translation projects aimed at introducing Chinese society to the Arab world. Language, cultural backgrounds and the readers' psychology are all important factors to be considered while undertaking such work, he says, adding that mutual understanding between Chinese and Iraqis, especially of their respective societies, is still limited. In 2006, Kdaimy invited friends in China and Iraq to help rejuvenate the China-Iraq Friendship Association. For his contribution to cultural exchanges, in 2014, Kdaimy was given the Friendship Award, the highest honor presented by the Chinese government to foreigners who have made a significant contribution to the nation's social and economic development. His children (the eldest was 8 when the family arrived in China) speak and write Chinese fluently. What she has done is gain a legion of loyal readers in China, and as with all good detective novels there is a fiendish twist: she has achieved all of this from beyond the grave. The first witness for the prosecution is Shen Yijie, 29, from Shanghai, who works in the IT industry and who has lived in Hong Kong for more than 10 years since attending university. Shen, the head of an online Chinese forum devoted to Christie, was pleasantly surprised by how many people showed up in Shanghai to talk about the writer, her fiction and her reception in China since the 1940s "because these days Chinese prefer Japanese detective stories to those written half a century ago". But, these latter-day masters of the genre come nowhere close to Christie in terms of sales.
It needs to be remembered, too, that while Christie's popularity has gone off the boil in China in recent years, Ajiasha Kelisidi was once a household name in the country. Even after the most brutal of murders, in Christie's world, order seems to be restored and readers are made to feel safe again, once the culprit confesses to his or her crime, not in the face of overpowering evidence, but cold, cogently presented logic. The Chinese writer Zha Liangzheng (Louis Cha), the contemporary master of martial arts fiction who writes under the name Jin Yong, says Christie is his favorite detective novelist and that he has read almost all her novels. Zha has a knack of creating suspense in his novels, such as the cryptic message that a murder victim leaves about his killer in The Legend of Condor Heroes.
Wang Lin, 31, a public servant, devotes much of his free time to plays and detective stories. He has read Christie since he was at primary school, he says, and once headed the play section of the Chinese Agatha Christie online forum.
The first of Christie's works to reach China, in the 1940s, was her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, published in a detective fiction magazine. In July 1979, in the aftermath of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) and as China began implementing the policy of reform and opening-up, the 1978 movie adaptation of Death on the Nile was screened in the country and was a phenomenal success.
In November of that year the foreign literature periodical Yilin was founded, and with it was published Death on the Nile, the editor regarding the novel as far superior to the movie.
About the same time China Film Press published a book that included both Murder on the Orient Express as a novel and the screenplay of a 1974 movie adaptation.
As the fame of Poirot spread across China, many of Christie's works were translated into Chinese in the 1980s.

In 1998 Guizhou People's Publishing House published 80 of Christie's works, but not all of her detective works.
However, Shen says, few Chinese read Christie's books these days, most being aware of her fiction from watching TV series and movies. Even among the Christie devotees at Tongji University, Shen's mention of some of the writer's less popular titles drew blank stares, but everyone seemed to be aware of the new BBC TV adaptation of And There Were None screened in Britain late last year. In Christie's novels Jean Marple solves cases in the British Victorian countryside and Hercule Poirot brings his classic reasoning to bear as he does his investigative spade work, but in the Japanese detective stories that are now in vogue the overwhelming mood is one of darkness.
Guo Yi, 34, a diehard fan of Christie, says she read all her works within about three months when she was at university. Christie's intriguing stories with their cool logic take many readers on a nostalgia ride to a time when everyone in a community knew everyone, when life was slower, when everything seemed to be in perfect order and indeed when everyone seemed to have the time and the patience to spend hours solving a mystery in a book. Shen says she started reading Christie when she was in middle school, her father being a detective fiction aficionado. She has read all Christie's works, she says - 68 novels, 21 short story collections and novellas, 18 plays, one autobiography, two poetry collections and six romance novels.
She has read many other detective novels, too, but always returns to Christie because of her insights into human nature, which is more appealing than other novelists, she says. Shen registered on the Chinese online forum of Agatha Christie in 2006, and became its leader six years later. The website includes copious detail, in words and pictures, about the publication of Christie's works in China since the 1940s. And There Were None, generally considered Christie's scariest, has been adapted into a Chinese play that has been performed more than 300 times over the past decade.
Readers who love Agatha Christie's works attend a seminar to share their love for the writer at Tongji University in Shanghai.
It was a decision that many of his friends were highly skeptical about, given that he had never produced a drama before. The pair adapted one of the most popular and best-selling thrillers of Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None, into a drama, which premiered in Shanghai on Nov 29, 2007. Looking back on his bold decision, Tong, 36, attributes the unexpected success to Christie.
In December 2007, Tong and Lin founded their own studio, Mousetrap Drama Studio, and focused on adapting Christie's masterpieces into theater. Christie was particularly significant to the couple because their relationship started after they played a married couple in a drama adapted from The Mousetrap when they studied at university. Lin once said in an interview that "the most interesting part of a crime drama is that everyone breathes together.
Like many Chinese audiences, Tong got to know Christie and her works by watching two movies adapted from detective novels by Christie that were among the earliest imported Western movies broadcast in China in the 1990s, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. Of all Christie's works, including her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, Tong's favorite is Christie's Witness for the Prosecution. In 2010, to mark the 125th anniversary of Christie's birth, the writer's only grandson, Mathew Prichard, was invited to Shanghai by Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and watched Mousetrap Drama Studio's Chinese production of And Then There Were None. Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre says Agatha Christie Ltd, which Prichard chairs and which has managed Christie's literary and media rights globally since 1955, has plans to work with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Mousetrap Drama Studio to turn more of Christie's works into Chinese dramas. In 2014 they presented a new translation of Christie's play Murder on Air, which brought together Tong Zirong and Liu Guangning and other acclaimed voice actors in Shanghai. The Shanghai director, Liu Fangqi, is among the young Chinese theater directors and producers, who has been influenced and adapted Christie's works into Chinese dramas. Liu, 33, became enamored with Christie's detective stories when he was at university, after coming across the script of the writer's Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of Western theater, in the library of Shanghai Theater Academy when he was studying there. On returning to Shanghai, Liu focused on adapting classic Western novels and scripts into Chinese plays.
In celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Mousetrap, 60 productions were performed in different languages around the world. One of the central arguments of those arguing for a Brexit vote in the referendum on June 23 has been that the UK would be able to strike better trade deals with the world's second-largest economy as well as the United States and India. Kenneth Clarke, former UK chancellor of the exchequer, says he will be relieved if voters do deliver a remain verdict in the poll.
Clarke, who was speaking in his office in Portcullis House in Westminster, has had a long involvement with China and was the UK's envoy at the 70th anniversary commemoration of the end of World War II in September.
He is also one of the most high-profile pro-European figures in the Conservative Party, now deeply divided over the referendum.
The 75-year-old also does not believe the issue of the UK's membership should have been put to a referendum in the first place. He also insists it will not be straightforward for a government to implement a leave vote, given the overwhelming majority within parliament for Britain remaining.
Clarke, who came to prominence as a cabinet minister in Margaret Thatcher's administrations of the 1980s, went on to be home secretary and chancellor of the exchequer under her successor, John Major. He held the positions of both justice secretary and minister without portfolio in David Cameron's coalition government before finally leaving office in 2014. He has been MP for Rushcliffe in Nottingham since 1970 and he revealed to China Daily he will be stepping down at the next general election, due to be held in 2020, after by then spending 50 years in the Commons. Clarke made his first visit to China shortly after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) and has been a regular visitor ever since. Apart from his attendance at the 70th anniversary commemoration, he led a UK healthcare trade mission to China in 2014 and also a parliamentary delegation to the 8th annual UK-China Leadership Forum in Beijing and Shanghai at the end of last year.
Clarke also recently intervened in the debate as to whether to impose tariffs on imported Chinese steel to save Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales, which is threatened with closure. He believes that President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK in October last year was an important staging post in building solid Sino-UK relations that were often mired in the past over issues relating to Hong Kong. The former chancellor has even had time on a recent trip to indulge his passion for birdwatching when visiting China. Clarke is currently in the process of writing his memoirs, which are due to be published in the autumn.
As one of six members of an ancient architecture restoration team, Li Changyun has already spent eight months collaborating with his colleagues on reassembling an old, two-story residence that was removed from its original site in a rural village years ago.
Before working on the centuries-old Yuan De House, which literarily means house of great virtue, the team reassembled four such old residences in the private Anhui Yuanquan Hui-Culture Museum, located in Shushan district of Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui province. Li, in his 60s, plays a key role on the team, which also includes a mason, a bricklayer, a painter and two others with carving and main structure expertise. Like most of the traditional residences in southern Anhui province and a small part of northern Jiangxi province, which was known as Huizhou region before 1949, the house was mainly built with wooden components. Li, a master carpenter for almost four decades, said that repairing ancient buildings is not an easy task, partly because many of the original components are missing or broken. Since the original components were all made by hand, almost no modern machines could be used in preparing the replicas.
On Li's team, five of the six members are older than 60, with the remaining member being just 29. The old Huizhou homes, which in ancient times were mostly owned by merchants, were known for their exquisite wood, brick and stone carvings. Xuan added that about 70 percent of the details of a Huizhou ancient house depended on the owner, instead of the craftsman. Xuan pays each of the craftsmen 300 yuan ($45.60) per working day, but he never urges them to hurry up, since "for cultural relics restoration, haste makes waste", he said.
Xuan often brings Li and his colleagues to such places as Huangshan, which was known as a part of the Huizhou region, in order to give them more profound knowledge of Huizhou-style ancient residences.
Xuan, 58, started to collect components of ancient Huizhou buildings in 1981 and then began to buy whole houses in the next decade. The Huizhou region has been known throughout China partly for the success of its merchants in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). When Xuan saw the house, it was in critical condition and no longer suitable for habitation. He has seized the opportunity to buy many components used for restoring homes, such as doors and windows, since the 1980s. Dun Lun Tang House is a Huizhou-style house reassembled by the ancient architecture restoration team with the Anhui Yuanquan Hui-Culture Museum in Hefei, Anhui province. The poet (AD 712-770), whose position in Chinese literature is likened to that of William Shakespeare in English literature, came to Chengdu as a war refugee in 759. The next year, the native of Gongxian in Henan province built a thatched cottage on the grounds of the present-day museum and spent most of the time there before leaving Sichuan in 765, penning 240 of his existing 1,400 poems. Since then, Liu has joined five times in the periodic rebuilding and repairing of the celebrated house, other thatched cottages and pavilions at the museum. When only repairs are needed, Liu uses a bamboo pole to pry up the top layer of old thatch to find where it has become thin, allowing leaks.
Liu started working to build and repair thatched cottage roofs at 13, as an apprentice to Su Yongcai, who also lived in Fuchang village in Pixian county and was 18 years older.
His skill as a roof builder and repairer enabled him to earn extra money to rear his son and two daughters. Zhou Lichun, 49, Liu's co-worker, who also hails from Pixian county, said there were once many cottages outside the grounds of the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum. Rapid urbanization has eliminated the cottages beyond the museum and in many parts of the countryside near Chengdu. Liu Mingfu with a thatched pavilion he repaired at the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
Luo Haiyun, 43, the Sansha branch chief of Chinese banking giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), told China Daily that the services provided on the island can now match those on offer anywhere. In the central part of Beijing Road, a major commercial hub on the island, stands the well-adorned ICBC branch, which is currently the only one that has been officially put into use. The bank is now assisting fishermen's plans to shift to other businesses, such as restaurants and processing seafood, and the services include the installment of point-of-sale machines and loans. Partly due to increased business and growing local demand, Beijing Road is also home to ATM machines or 24-hour automatic banking outposts of other banks. Close by will be the branch of another Chinese banking giant - the Bank of China, which is waiting to be officially inaugurated after approval for its operation was announced earlier this year.
Unlike the crowded halls of a typical banking branch in more densely populated mainland cities, the ICBC Sansha branch is a picture of order and efficiency. Thanks to the small population and good public security climate, the branch does not even need a guard to maintain order. Before telecommunication facilities were in place on the island, the staff had to contend with the burden of missing their families and friends. Now 4G signals and broadband Internet access have covered the island, and the branch office has access to the internal network of ICBC in 2011.
Ships, once a rare sight, now shuttle frequently between Yongxing and Hainan islands, bringing every conceivable modern-day convenience as well as new staff. Starting at the branch in January, 2012, Luo said he spent, on average, more than 200 days every year on the island, but thanks to the increasing number of ships dropping anchor there, he could enjoy more time with family members. The veteran banking manager believes online banking is the future and many of his customers are already availing of this service. Sansha People's Hospital, the only full-scale medical institution on remote Yongxing Island, is meeting its increasing medical needs with a little help from its friends. Given limited medical capacity, the hospital conducts preliminary treatments for patients requiring further care before they are transferred to major hospitals on Hainan Island. To help meet the growing medical demands, young doctors and nurses have been temporarily transferred from Hainan Island to work at the hospital. These young medics, including nurse Li Chunhong, 33, generally stay for about six months before returning to Hainan. One of the tasks for Li and her medical colleagues is to introduce the islanders to the correct method of using antibiotics. The hospital, built in the 1980s, has developed rapidly in recent years and the three-story building has an outpatient department as well as wards and rooms for those requiring an overnight stay. A new program providing more medical equipment, financed by the central government, is likely to be in place before Sansha celebrates its fourth birthday in July, according to the city government.
The hospital has become a medical hub and provider of medicine to other islands and reefs nearby. Huang Hongbo, chief of the resident committee on nearby Bei Island, dropped by the hospital for medicine to fight a heavy cold. Niu Mu, 30, a male doctor who previously worked in Haikou, said the first batch of medical staff that arrived in the 1980s endured a range of difficulties, such as a lack of electricity, medicine, running water and sometimes even food was not too abundant. Li said that even though the island is small, "we are all very satisfied with what we have and we believe it is a great honor to serve the island dwellers". The professor of marketing and innovation at Britain's Warwick Business School says brands of the power and reach of Apple give companies breathing space to do research and development. Wang, who was speaking at the Kerry Hotel in Beijing on one of her many annual visits to her native China, says the lack of global brands, not just in technology but in almost every sphere, was a real problem for the world's second-largest economy.
She cites that there were no Chinese brands in the Interbrand top 100 best global brands survey in 2015. She believes the lack of brands is undermining the country's technological efforts and achievements even though it overtook the United States and Japan as the world's largest filer of patents in 2012. The major question though is how far China - once light years behind at the time of reform and opening up in the late 1970s - has to go in catching up with the West in terms of technology.
Her father was branded a "landlord" and lost his job at the height of the "cultural revolution (1966-76)", which meant the family was sent to the remote southwest Chinese province of Yunnan to a labor camp for intellectuals.
When the universities reopened in 1978 she was accepted by Xi'an University of Technology at just 16 to study engineering. She then went on to study management science at Tianjin University before being accepted on scholarship under a technology cooperation scheme between the British Council and the Chinese government to study in the UK.
So in 1988, she arrived at Warwick University to study for a doctorate in marketing and has lived in the UK ever since.
She went on to teach at John Moores University in Liverpool and after a spell at Sussex university in Brighton went back to Warwick University, where her specialization is a combination of marketing and innovation. Along with others such as Peter Williamson at Judge Business School at Cambridge University, she is pre-eminent in combining these two disciplines.
Wang, who is engaging but with a steely determination, also specializes in Chinese marketing on the advice of Robin Wensley, the former dean of Warwick Business School. She says that it was a new subject in China because in the 1970s there wasn't even a word for it.
Wang has been quite evangelical in trying to get across the message in China itself that brands and marketing are important.

She says when China first began to rapidly develop, many Chinese companies found their brands were killed almost at birth by Western companies. Wang, who has held a number of posts at Chinese universities, including Sun Yat-sen, Tongji and Tsinghua, says the problem many Chinese brands face today is the negative association attached with being from China. She, however, believes Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei have made huge strides.
Chinese infrastructure companies are also moving from markets such as Africa, where they are now well established, to Europe to be involved in major projects such as HS2. The exhibition at Duoyunxuan Art Center showcases rare photographs like this one, in addition to artifacts including the clothes and daily utensils used by the sisters.
There has never been a trio of sisters more famous in China than the Soongs, and their contributions to the country and the war-time efforts have now been immortalized in a unique exhibition named "The Soong Sisters: Special Memories".
The exhibition, which occupies 2,500 square meters at the Duoyunxuan Art Center, debuted on April 28 and will run till July 31. The 300 exhibits on show, which comprises original documents, photographs, video recordings, clothing, daily utensils and artworks, were collected from both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The three women - Ai-ling (1888-1973), Ching-ling (1893-1981) and Mei-ling (1898-2003) - are well-known for their key roles in China's political scene throughout the 20th century. While Mei-ling and Ai-ling were ardent supporters of the Kuomintang (KMT), Ching-ling was steadfast in her Communism beliefs. In 1940, when the Japanese occupied the capital city of Nanjing, the three reunited in Chongqing and established the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives.
Following the fall of the Kuomintang in 1948, Mei-ling and Ai-ling moved to Taiwan with their family, while Ching-ling stayed in the Chinese mainland.
The Soong sisters were born to American-educated Methodist minister Charles Soong and all three of them attended Wesleyan College in Georgia. Mei-ling left Wesleyan College and later graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In the 1930s, she and her husband Chiang initiated the New Life Movement, combining Confucianism with Christianity, and encouraged self-cultivation among the Chinese people.
When the war broke out, she initiated a welfare project to establish schools for orphans of Chinese soldiers and referred to these children as her "warphans". Mei-ling also played an active role in the political scene and was the English translator, secretary and advisor to her husband Chiang. In 1943, Mei-ling became the first Chinese national and only the second woman to make a public address to both houses of the US congress, speaking about the Chinese people's determination to fight against the Japanese invaders. In 1995, she made a rare public appearance when she attended a reception held on Capitol Hill in her honor as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. She worked as a fashion designer in New York and Los Angeles for 15 years for brands like Zum Zum, Halston and Tadashi Shoji, before she returned to China in 2009 to create her eponymous brand.
The result is that many plots have fallen into disuse and many of the formerly enthusiastic farmers have moved on to other interests. One is Yifendi Farm, a cooperative set up in 2009 and run by Nanyuan Village in the Fengtai district of Beijing.
He had previously rented a plot on another farm, an hour's drive from his home, for nearly four years after he had retired as a physician. He can supply his family with seasonal, fresh and healthy vegetables, including eggplants, cucumbers, beans, ginger and shallots, and his health is much better than it used to be. He delights in playing in the mud, observing insects, seeing plants grow, chasing butterflies and watching the farm animals, Xie says. It can lead the creation of a new business civilization that no longer just prioritizes profits. Notable alumni from the Beijing school include Alibaba's founder Jack Ma and former Sinopec chairman Fu Chengyu. He was also a professor of accounting at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, prior to joining Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. For example, three years ago during the free trade agreement discussions between China, Japan and South Korea, Japan proposed the idea of settling China-Japan trade in renminbi.
Gaining such ethical acceptance from the global community is key, particularly as China is a newcomer to the global business scene and its emergence comes at a time of great global sustainability issues. For example, a lot of Japanese food companies champion sustainability by only having one lunchbox to pack different food, but often in China it is very often to pack one lunch with five to six different boxes," says Xiang.
Cambridge University, seen as the birthplace of Sinology and where Wade and Giles invented the first romanization system for Chinese, has its own famous history of the Middle Kingdom. They wanted it to work on several different levels - a book that could be used as a textbook but also one that is an enjoyable read," he says. It goes from a period when China had a relative centrality and strength in the world to the present - another period of relative centrality and strength.
They include Rana Mitter, director of the Dickson Poon Oxford University China Centre, and Robert Bickers, who specializes in the so-called humiliation period of the late 19th century.
Today, 18 years later, the Iraqi translator and editor says China and the Arab world have developed strong cultural links. The organizing committee of the 2008 Beijing Olympics invited him to write articles on China for Arab tourists and athletes. Impressed by author Luo Guanzhong's narrative style and the portrayal of the novel's characters, he fell in love with the story, says he.
He worked closely with Chinese scholars and also read extensively to learn about the history and ensure accuracy in translation. Although not all have been as intriguing as the classic literary works, he says he gets to learn about different social topics and events and has gained a deeper understanding of China. The group, which is based in Beijing, had been inactive for years due to social chaos in Iraq.
Call her Lady Mallowan, Mary Westmacott, Ajiasha Kelisidi or plain old Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, and in so doing you will have fingered she who done it.
She has attended two events at Tongji University in Shanghai in recent months marking Christie's death 40 years ago on Jan 12, 1976.
Her devotees say that if you tot up book sales through the centuries, her only competitors are the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, her sales totaling 2 billion copies in various languages.
However, even though far fewer people now read the books that represent classic detective fiction in its halcyon days of the 1920s and 1930s, her devotees never seemed to be able to get enough of the genre and its acute observations of human nature in a world in which neat, predictable order, which now seems to be a thing of the past, is the norm.
He has played a member of the 12-person jury in the Chinese stage adaptation of Christie's Witness for the Prosecution 99 times and says he appreciates her "from a different perspective". In January New Star Press published his translation of her short story collection While the Light Lasts. Four hundred thousand copies of Yilin were sold, exhausting stocks in some cities so that it became highly sought after. In 2013 New Star Press bought the copyright from Mathew Prichard, her grandson, to publish all the 85 detective works. Forty-three books have come out and the plan is to publish the rest of her works by the end of next year.
Authors create thrills to appeal to the imaginations of readers who have become accustomed to psychopathic serial killers created and developed over the past 40 years. Christie explains in a very classic way why people murder, and, drawing on her insights of human nature and social relationships, she can cast suspicion on every character in a novel, Guo says.
She writes articles about Agatha Christie for magazines and is now translating Parker Pyne Investigates and Christie's autobiography, which New Star Press will publish. Between 2003 and 2005 forum members were particularly active, doing their own broadcast plays and writing their own detective fiction.
However, Tong's wife, Lin Yi, who had studied with him at the academy and is a director and actress at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, gave him her full backing. The first series of 30 performances was sold out and the production has now been staged more than 380 times and attracting 300,000 viewers. They have produced nine dramas based on Christie's works, including The Unexpected Guest, The Hollow and Go Back for Murder. Of all the adaptations, Christie's works, including Towards Zero and Black Coffee, are among his favorites.
Liu, working with Shanghai Modern Theater, directed the Chinese production of The Mousetrap, which made its UK debut at St.
I haven't read either but I am told they are perfectly friendly so I might do so now to jog my memory," he says laughing. To qualify for the work, a carpenter must have mastery of more than 100 specific types of carpentry tools, "more than 30 of which are planes with different functions", Li said. Xuan Fanqiu, head of the Yuanquan museum, said he chose the senior workers partly because they are more reliable in craftsmanship, in addition to the fact that "it was nearly impossible to find young people who are interested in and also good at the craftsman work". The images carved on the components could vary widely from house to house, according to Xuan.
Many villages in the ancient Huizhou region are filled with ancient houses, some of which are being torn down to make way for more modern homes. When he was traveling in the region, he saw people arguing about how to remove a two-story house, built in the early Qing Dynasty and called Chong Shan Tang House, and how to divide the wood and land. Some of them kept only the wooden pillars and beams, while the other components were considered useless," Xuan said.
So when the ancient poet's replica cottage at the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum in Chengdu, Sichuan province, needed a new roof, the curators knew just whom to call. As it leaked rain, Du lamented that he would die satisfied if all the poor scholars like him had a decent shelter.
The museum started rebuilding the house in 1996, employing Liu, and opened it to the public the next year. Thatched roofs were ubiquitous in rural Sichuan, as they are warm in winter and cool in summer. Most of the time, I build and repair thatched cottage roofs in rural resorts that serve as teahouses, restaurants and hotels for tourists," Liu said. And the museum had to order it half a year before the rebuilding and repair project started," museum curator Jia Lan said.
These are common features in all city banks but the bank on Yongxing Island, host of the country's southernmost city government of Sansha, is not a typical city bank. The various financial products are increasingly popular with the customers, many of whom are trying their hand at being entrepreneurs. One of the most popular products - Xinjinyi 1 (which means "Profitable Wage 1" in Chinese) - accounts for 10 percent of the total deposits in our branch," Luo said.
Staff had to combat the intense humidity, typhoons, a lack of electricity, fresh water and vegetables were scarce. Lack of medicine and medical facilities on islands such as Huang's was mirrored by his asking doctors for ten large packets of a traditional Chinese medicine. China opened its first line in 2007 and now has 19,000 kilometers of track in service, more than the rest of the world's high-speed rail networks together. Her father taught philosophy at a military college and her mother taught Chinese literature. So researchers and scientists don't talk to marketers because they speak different languages.
She addressed the Pujiang Innovation Forum, organized by the Ministry of Science & Technology, in Shanghai as far back as 2000. They had brands that could have been quite promising but they allowed themselves to be acquired by Western brands who basically discarded them," she says. It is jointly presented by Xinmin Evening News and the municipal management council for the cultural relics of Sun Yat-sen and Soong Ching-ling. Two of them were once the first ladies of China - Ching-ling married Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), also known as the "Father of Modern China" while Mei-ling wedded Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975), the former leader of the Kuomintang government and president of the Republic of China.
Despite their differences in ideology, the three sisters nonetheless joined hands to lend vital support to war relief efforts in the fight against the Japanese invaders. The three sisters had provided aid to numerous schools, hospitals, air raid shelters and war-torn communities. This is the first time the three of them are reunited since 1949 when they went their separate ways," says Chen Qiwei, chief editor of Xinmin Evening News.
The exhibition features the bond between the sisters, as well as their shared patriotic love for the nation. She spoke excellent English, and with a Georgia accent, which helped her to connect with American audiences, according to records from Wellesley College. To better provide for them, she established the Chinese Women's National War Relief Society. Well-known among the well-heeled, Chen is now making a bigger splash both in China and overseas. It is a different kind of arc to most modern histories that begin with the Opium wars around 1850 when China was in decline. At the time, he says, he also witnessed the city's rapid development, an experience he calls "unforgettable". It has since made efforts to boost mutual understanding and has organized exchange activities between the countries. Her fiction has been adapted for the screen 180 times, says the news magazine Sanlian Weekly, and a new movie adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express is said to be in the works and due to be released next year.
For her, crime stories are an intelligence test in which all you need do is sit in a chair, read the stories and enter a fictional world to solve the riddles, she says. As the poem is required reading for every Chinese high school student, the museum is a must-see for many first-time visitors to Chengdu. When the museum started the rebuilding and repair of more than 10 thatched cottages and pavilions in early January, it had to purchase the 3,500 kg of needed thatch from Suining, a hilly city 170 km from Chengdu.
These modern-day trappings are not taken for granted.]]> A far-flung branch gives plenty of choice amid tide of change. China will be a likely bidder for construction contracts on the UK's HS2 high-speed rail link.
The eldest sibling, Ai-ling, was married to Kung Hsiang-hsi (1881-1967), the richest man in China in the early 1900s. Ai-ling and Mei-ling later moved to New York where they spent their last days while Ching-ling died in Beijing.

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