For those who are planning on visiting Tibet, be prepared to be disappointed.

Chinese authorities have closed the troubled Tibetan region to foreign tourists, ahead of the third anniversary of violent anti-government riots there.

China has increased security in Tibet since the 2008 demonstrations descended into violence and spread to neighbouring areas with significant Tibetan populations. China routinely limits foreign travel to Tibet, requiring overseas tourists to obtain special permits (in addition to Chinese visas) and also travel in tour groups. Foreign tourists were banned from travelling to the Himalayan region for more than a year after the 2008 demonstrations. This is nothing new.

How long this travel restriction will last is still unknown. Hopefully, travel to Tibet will be resumed in April (if there are no protests).

I was very tempted to visit Tibet after seeing this, but I guess it’ll have to wait.

via Yahoo! News.

The Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects has opened in Guangdong province. Shaped to resemble two pebbles on the bank of the Pearl River, the building houses a 1,800-seat theatre plus 400-seat multifunctional hall, rehearsal rooms and entrance hall.

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The main auditorium is lined with moulded panels made from glass-fibre reinforced gypsum to create a folded, flowing surface.

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The design evolved from the concepts of a natural landscape and the fascinating interplay between architecture and nature; engaging with the principles of erosion, geology and topography. Like pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion, the Guangzhou Opera House sits in perfect harmony with its riverside location.

The Guangzhou Opera House has been the catalyst for the development of cultural facilities in the city including new museums, library and archive.

The 1,800-seat auditorium of the Opera House houses the very latest acoustic technology, and the smaller 400-seat multifunction hall is designed for performance art, opera and concerts in the round.

Click here for more stunning images!

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It may come as a surprise to you, but schools in China do teach sex education. In fact, they teach kids in elementary school. Well, at least this one does.

At the Hepingli No. 1 Primary School in Dongcheng district of Beijing, students experience “fertilization” in sex education class.

During a sexual health education class, the teacher uses a game to teach students how a “sperm” and “ovum” unite after going through multiple obstacles, and even allows them to experience the hardships of a mother’s ten month pregnancy.

Check out the rest after the jump: Continue reading »

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In what has become a very exciting find for archaeologists in China and around the World, a set of coffins from the Ming Dynasty were discovered in the city of Taizhou. The most puzzling part about the excavation is that a female corpse was found to be in perfect condition – the corpse had hardly rotted.

On February 24, in Taizhou city, three coffins were found near Chunlan road. The next day, staff from Taizhou museum rushed to the site and found that construction workers dug a total of three coffins, two close together, separated by only 10 centimeters, and a third coffin was separated from the two by 34 meters.

Museum staff found that the first coffin has been destroyed in the digging, the other two coffins were kept relatively intact. Judging from the method of burial, the museum staff identified the three coffins to be from the Ming Dynasty. The three coffins were transported to the museum to be prepared for further analysis.

On March 1, the museum opened the remaining two intact coffins. Of the two coffins, one was found with the female corpse. Somehow, the corpse did not rot after so many years. The museum staff were surprised. The corpse was so well preserved that the eyebrows were clearly visible and the skin was still elastic.

The rest of the post may contain rather graphic images. Click on the link to continue.

FTZA

There’s really nothing that is not copied in China. From high-end luxury brands like Burberry to cheap pirated DVDs, nothing really is not copied in some form or another.

But Fila? Does anyone still remember what it is?

I thought the point of copying something was to benefit from the brand recognition. I don’t remember seeing any Fila shops last time I visited China…

Tom Cruise may seem a bit crazy at times but he sure knows how to catch attention. This time though, he’s targeting the Chinese market.

Last week, Tom Cruise became the first Hollywood star to join Sina’s “Wei Bo” (translated as microblog) which is China’s version of Twitter.

Very quickly, in less than a week, Tom has attracted over 186,000 followers. He seems to be happy with China’s microblog and posted an interesting tweet on his official Twitter account: “We’re having fun talking to you & our new friends at http://t.sina.com.cn/ It’s the Chinese Twitter, but with a lot more functionality, CIO.” Interestingly, he is also following 404 Sina Microblog users, including pop singers from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Maybe he wants to make some Chinese celebrity friends?

There is no doubt that this is a good move by Tom and something that may become a new trend for western celebrities. China is a huge market and with Hollywood trying to reach a wide audience, staying connected with Chinese fans is definitely a good idea.

Hey! Remember to check out Tom’s micro blog here.

via M.I.C. Gadget.

Just when I was getting excited about China’s first capsule hotel, the fire authorities in Shanghai have refused to issue an operating license.

The refusal was mainly due to fire and personal safety concerns. Apparently, the capsules were found to be made of highly flammable materials. In addition, inspectors said that the average space for each guest, which is measured at 2.4 square meters, did not meet the city’s basic requirement for renting houses and may pose difficulties for emergency evacuation.

The “Xitai Capsule Hotel” was set to be China’s first capsule hotel. The hotel features 68 cabinet-sized rooms imported from Japan – where capsule hotels originated – each equipped with a power point, clock, light, television and wireless Internet. The hotel is only opened to men with shared lavatory and shower facilities. It also has a designated area for snoring guests.

The hotel planned on charging 68 yuan ($10) for 10 hours or 88 yuan for 24 hours which is very cheap – even compared to budget hotels in China.

Ta Zan, the owner of the hotel who used to work for capsule hotels in Japan, said that without a license, he had never booked a guest since construction was completed last October. Ta regretted the denial of a license, but said that he would not give up the idea of opening capsule hotels in China.

via China.org.cn.

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Three years ago, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s tattooed Louis Vuitton pigs were banned from SH Contemporary, Shanghai’s largest contemporary art fair. This time, he’s at it again, tattooing more odious designs, and on more pigs!

The 46 year old artist, who claims to be a vegetarian, has been tattooing live pigs since 1997. He now runs a pig farm in the suburb’s of Beijing’s Shunyi District, where he works with Chinese tattoo artists to ink pigs with an array of designs, from Louis Vuitton logos and Walt Disney cartoon characters to Chinese motifs.

Before each pig is tattooed, it is first made to sign a model release form, sedated, shaved and applied with Vaseline. The tattoos are then allowed to grow on the pigs for a while before they are sold to “art” collectors from all over the world.

In 2008, the skins could fetch about 10,200 USD a piece. Today, each canvas can set you back by as much as 1 million RMB (around 152,000 USD), if reports by Chinese news agencies are to be believed.

The question is: do you want your piece of art dead or alive?

Check out the photo gallery after the break: Continue reading »

In a case which doctors describe as a “miracle” and has been widely covered by the Chinese media and discussed on the internet, surgeons in southern China have removed a rusty, 10cm (4in) blade from the skull of a man who said it had been stuck in there for four years.

The 30 year old man, Li Fuyan, had been suffering from severe headaches, bad breath and breathing difficulties but never knew why. Li told doctors he had been stabbed in the lower right jaw by a robber four years ago and the blade broke off inside his head without anyone realising it.

Surgeons worked cautiously to remove the badly corroded blade without shattering it. “We checked his mouth, but no wound or scar has been found. It is very strange as to how the blade got into his head,” Xu Wen, deputy director of the hospital’s stomatology department, told state broadcaster CCTV.

Dr Eugene Flamm, chairman of neurosurgery at New York’s Montefiore medical centre, said x-ray images of the man’s head posted on the hospital’s website show the knife sitting behind the man’s throat, having missed the carotid artery and other key structures.

via The Guardian

Hot on the heels of cadmium contaminated rice comes the latest health warning. It seems that cucumbers grown in the Shandong Province may contain artificial growth hormones. Farmers produce the liquid hormone using compounds from birth control pills. Although the effects of eating such cucumbers have not been confirmed, it is safe to say that everyone should stay away from them.

These cucumbers with hormones are actually very easy to identify as the flower on top of the cucumber remains healthy, due to the effects of the growth hormones. The hormone injected cucumbers also taste horrible.

Cucumbers with yellow flowers were very popular in wet markets in Jiaonan City, Shandong. The vegetables were considered tender and fresh. “People in the industry all know these cucumbers contain hormones,” a dealer selling cucumbers at a wet market told Qingdao Morning Post. The growth hormone is also available at the market. The seller boasted that the growth hormone makes the cucumber mature 50 percent faster and keeps the flower from drying up.

via Shanghai Daily.

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