4 Chinese Cities You’ll Want to Get Lost In

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Chinese Cities You’ll Want to Get Lost In

When you travel to a large country, you know that there are countless options for places to visit. Just like in the United States, China is a massive place with a number of major cities that make for excellent stops on your itinerary. If you’re thinking of planning a trip that will take you through the land of the Great Wall, be sure to consider stopping into one of these four cities.

Beijing

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

Of course, with any trip to China, Beijing should be on your “must-see” list. In addition to being a bustling home to 20 million residents and the nation’s capital, the city is also rich in history and centrally located to a number of popular attractions. If your goal is to walk the Great Wall, Beijing is close to some of the best-preserved stretches of the structure. Even if you don’t want to leave the city, you should check out the Forbidden City, a former imperial palace that also has the distinction of being the world’s largest palace.

The city is full of countless museums and historical sites, making Beijing a perfect stop to understand the nation’s rich culture and history. But don’t fall under the impression that Beijing can offer a window into only the past. The 798 Art District is full of modern and quirky pieces ranging from sculptures to paintings. And at night you can head to Nanluoguxiang for a taste of Beijing’s nightlife and foodie culture.

Hangzhou

Credit: gaoshanshan / iStock

If the hustle and bustle of bigger Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing leave you feeling a tad overwhelmed, then dial it back with a more laid-back city like Hangzhou. The southern city is part of the original Silk Road and is best known as a blend of “old world meets new world.” Tourists from China and around the world can enjoy the countless shrines, temples, bridges and pagodas dotted throughout the city and around West Lake.

But Hangzhou is also a popular business destination that has encouraged the metropolitan and tech vibe that can be felt in the newer parts of the city. The city is home to the Alibaba headquarters — the e-commerce platform and Amazon rival. And even if you’re not into the tech world, enjoy a bit of whimsy with the Hello Kitty Park, the only theme park outside of Japan that’s dedicated to that anthropomorphic sweet cat.

Xi’an

Credit: MediaProduction / iStock

History buffs should make sure that Xi’an (pronounced “shee-ahn”) is on their priority list. Xi’an is most famously known for the 1974 archeological discovery of the Terracotta Warriors. The UNESCO site showcases more than 8,000 statues of warriors, horses, and weapons—and that number is still growing as excavators continue to unearth more. Expect to spend about half a day visiting the Terracotta Warriors as they’re located about an hour outside of the city.

If you prefer to stay close to town, Xi’an still has plenty to offer. The city wall closely resembles the Great Wall because it was built within the same time period during the Ming Dynasty. And it is one of the best-preserved defense walls that isn’t part of the Great Wall. For a unique experience, rent a bicycle and cycle on the wall to get a different view of the city.

Lhasa

Credit: iPandastudio / iStock

Depending on who you talk to, Lhasa can be a technicality. According to most travel guides, Lhasa is considered a Chinese city. However, it is located in Tibet and is an important place for Tibetan Buddhists. Regardless of the geography, Lhasa is a high-elevation city (11,647 feet above sea level), so you should plan to spend quite a few days here to give your body time to acclimate and avoid altitude sickness.

Russia Against The U.S. Or The U.S. Against Russia Type Policies Show Ignorance; Not Strength

Russia Against The U.S. Or The U.S. Against Russia Type Policies Show Ignorance; Not Strength

It does seem to me that during the 14 years that President Putin has been in power that the nation of Russia has constantly grown further away from having good ties with the United States. I do put a lot of blame on America/Americans for Mr. Putin ever coming to power in Russia in the first place though. We here in American movies, media outlets as well as the talking heads in D.C. were always slamming Russia for being backwards and incompetent. How could the American idiots not have known that they were not just slamming a picture on a map, they were constantly slapping the people of Russia in the face for the actions of their pathetic Communist government. The people were constantly having their national and personal pride stomped on by a bunch of ego maniacs who were too uncaring or too ignorant to care. This is not how you build friendships with a people/Nation, it is how you destroy relationships. When the Soviet Union crashed in the fall of 1989 large Capitalist Corporations simply saw red meat concerning the people and resources they could get control of. About a 150 years ago after the American Civil War ended there ware folks that were labeled as Carpet-bagger’s for their actions like what the wealthiest of the West has done to the poorest of the Russian population.

 

I am a person that believes that Russia, China, America and the E.U. need to work together as friends, bringing in the smaller nations that surround us in a real barricade against the spread of Islamic extremest within our borders. The people of Russia that I have met in my life as well as the folks from that region of the world are just like everyone else. They want personal security for themselves their families and their businesses. They want a roof over their heads, food to eat and regular trash pick-up and to be left alone by the government. There are a lot of people in the governments of countries like China and Russia who do not believe in their being any God (I’m sure there are some of those in the U.S. government also). Folks that mindset is much easier to work with, to live with, than a religion that’s stated goal is to kill everyone on Earth who doesn’t follow 100% their beliefs. Of course there is always the issue of whom is the Judge at any particular moment as to whom gets their head lifted.

 

I personally don’t know just how we the non-Islamic world will be able to come together with all the divides we keep throwing at each other from D.C., Moscow and Beijing but our government and military officials on all sides of the Big Ponds need to get their heads out of their behinds before they get them cut off with them permanently stuck there. Our so-called leaders need to start focusing on the avenues of good that can be followed and nurtured between our Nations and our cultures before we have no Nation, Culture, or Head!

 

 

Security Clampdown in Far-Western China Exacts Toll on Businesses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES AND REUTERS)

URUMQI, China — The economy of the vast Xinjiang region in far western China is officially growing at a robust pace, faster than the country as a whole. That is largely thanks to big investments in infrastructure from Beijing as the region – with its links to much of central Asia – is critical to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s new Silk Road initiative.

But traders, business owners and residents in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, are seeing little benefit from the central government’s cash injection, according to about 20 interviews with people in the city.

One major reason for that, they say, is due to tightened security as the Chinese government seeks to control one of its biggest domestic threats. Beijing accuses separatist extremists among the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority of plotting attacks on the ethnic Han majority in Xinjiang and other parts of China, following a series of violent events in recent years.

As a result, there are roadblocks and stringent security checks across the region, including at restaurants, hotels and shops, making it slow and frustrating to move around.

The new Silk Road, officially known as the Belt and Road initiative, is Xi’s signature foreign and economic policy which aims to increase economic and political ties through roads, railways and other projects that link China to Central Asia and beyond. But the contrast between that ambition and the views at street level in Urumqi reflects the difficulty Beijing faces in trying to balance security against its other top priorities.

This is particularly the case as China is determined to avoid any trouble ahead of a critical Communist Party congress in the autumn at which Xi is expected to consolidate his power, and as it faces the threat from some Uighurs who have become battle-hardened Islamic State fighters in the war in Syria and Iraq and may return home.

DELIVERIES DIFFICULT

The impact of the clampdown is clear at the Frontier International Trade Centre in Urumqi,  where padlocked stores outnumber traders.

“Business became really bad last year. I’ve got nothing to do except a stock-take,” said Wei Chun, a shoe trader, surrounded by piles of high-heels.

She blames poor sales partly on the impact of sluggish economies in neighbours Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, among the eight countries with which Xinjiang has borders.  But she also says the Chinese authorities’ obsession with keeping Xinjiang secure at all costs is making it tough to do business here.

“It’s very difficult to send and receive deliveries because of the security crackdown,” she said, complaining that authorities will often shut down the delivery system for “security reasons”.

The Xinjiang government declined to make officials available for comment for this article. It also did not respond to a series of faxed questions.

Xu Bin, the head of the Xinjiang government’s statistics bureau,  told reporters in February that its growth – which was 7.6 percent last year – is mostly fuelled by fixed asset investment. But he then added: “Xinjiang faces slowing economic growth, falling industrial prices, companies are feeling the pain of falling profits and the growth rate of our tax revenue has dropped off.”

Xinjiang’s trade with other countries fell in the first quarter of this year, according to the customs bureau, and is still below the level it recorded in the first quarter of 2013, the year that Belt and Road launched.

Much of that drop was because a slump in the rouble in 2014-2015 hurt Xinjiang’s neighbours, and following the 2015 establishment of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). That aims to develop Central Asia and lessen its reliance on Chinese goods.

EVENTS CANCELLED

People here point to many disruptions in ordinary life as one reason the economy doesn’t feel buoyant at street level.

Group gatherings, whether for charity fun runs or trade expos, are often banned or cancelled at the last minute, they say. Phone lines sometimes go dead, and there’s no 4G internet because the authorities fear high-speed internet would help militants organize.

While Belt and Road has created opportunities, small businesses complain these projects often reward large state-owned enterprises.

“The Belt and Road Initiative doesn’t help small businessmen like me,” said Zhou Bangquan who sells men’s shoes in Urumqi.

“It helps big state-owned enterprises that do energy or have big infrastructure projects.”

Among the projects financed are a highway to Pakistan and a network of high-speed railroads connecting cities in Xinjiang and the rest of China, with 1.5 trillion yuan (171.69 billion pounds) in capital investment expected in the region this year alone.

But it is unclear how much of the money is used to buy materials from factories outside the region or ends up being sent to other provinces by workers brought in temporarily from elsewhere in China.

It’s not just heightened security measures that concern businesses. People are required to attend flag ceremonies and other patriotic education, instead of working, say locals. Such events are meant to encourage Uighurs to become patriotic Chinese citizens but can also be used to monitor their behaviour.

    PATRIOTIC EDUCATION

    “I’m losing my mind, I’ve already had six staff sent back to their home towns this past month for study,” said a restaurant manager in Urumqi who, like many people Reuters spoke to in Xinjiang, declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

His Uighur staff were required to return home to southern Xinjiang for one month’s study of Mandarin Chinese, another month learning about China’s legal system and a month of vocational training, he said.

“We all spend so much time doing things that aren’t our actual jobs. I have to take my staff to watch a flag-raising forty weeks of the year. If I don’t, I will be taken away for thirty days of study,” he said.

As well as the time spent on such matters, Uighurs – who represent just over 45 percent of the population – are being increasingly marginalized by the Han Chinese, undermining the overall economy.

Three Han Chinese entrepreneurs told Reuters local authorities had told them not to employ Uighurs. And a Han Chinese real estate agent in Urumqi said he had been told not to sell properties to Uighurs from southern Xinjiang.

There has been a change in attitude towards balancing stability and economic growth in Xinjiang since Chen Quanguo became its new Communist Party boss last August in what analysts say was an implicit endorsement of his previous hard-line management of ethnic strife in Tibet.

“Xinjiang used to have a policy of ‘with one hand we maintain stability, with the other hand we grow the economy’ but now it’s just ‘maintain stability with both hands, at all costs’,” said a local businessman and former government official.

Chen said in a speech last September that “all our work in Xinjiang revolves around maintaining a tight grip on stability.”

(Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Additional reporting by the Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Martin Howell)

Philippines President Duterte Kisses China: Kicks U.S. Government In The Butt

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN NEWS)

In China, Duterte announces split with US: ‘America has lost’

  • White House spokesman: No request has been made to change alliance
  • “I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow,” Duterte says in Beijing

(CNN) Rodrigo Duterte left no room for doubt about where his allegiance lies.

In a state visit aimed at cozening up to Beijing as he pushes away from Washington, the Philippine President announced his military and economic “separation” from the United States.
“America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow,” he told business leaders in Beijing on Thursday. “And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”
Duterte didn’t provide details about how he’d break away from the United States, or what the separation could entail.
US officials stressed the long history of diplomatic, military and financial ties between the two countries.
“We have not received any requests from officials to change our alliance,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reports aboard Air Force One Thursday.
In China, leaders said they were ready to start a new chapter.

A gamble

Relations between China and the Philippines had soured over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
But now Duterte is taking a different tack, pushing that issue to the background as he tries to forge closer ties with China.
Will the gamble pay off?
So far, it seems to be, said Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University, Manila.
The usually brash and outspoken Duterte appeared much more statesmanlike in China than he has on previous trips overseas, said Heydarian.
“Duterte has been careful not to slight his hosts, he’s been very deferential to the Chinese. It’s raised eyebrows in the Philippines but pleased people in China,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Duterte with full military honors at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday.
He called the two countries “neighbors across the sea” and said they’d agreed to achieve “full improvement” in bilateral ties, state media reported.
The two leaders signed some 13 bilateral deals including pacts on trade, investment, tourism, crime and drug prohibition, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
However, there was no specific agreement about the South China Sea, where the two have overlapping maritime claims. They agreed to address the matter through talks, according to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.
 This man compares himself to Hitler 01:21

Pivot

Duterte’s pivot toward China comes as relations with long-time ally the United States are at an all-time low.
At a news conference in Laos in September, he called US President Barack Obama a son of a bitch, when asked what he would say if Obama was critical about his anti-drug efforts, which critics say violate human rights. Since Duterte took office, hundreds of drug dealers and users have been killed in police operations.
The two leaders both attended the ASEAN summit a few days later. They didn’t speak and only briefly shook hands.
Earlier in October, President Duterte confirmed that his country would not participate in joint military drills with the US that are set for next year. He did say, however, that the treaty alliance with the US would remain intact.
By contrast, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised Duterte’s war on drugs this week, according to state broadcaster CCTV, saying he takes the fundamental interests and welfare of the Philippines’ people into consideration.
It’s unclear how Duterte’s latest statement could alter ties with the United States.
Asked to respond to the announcement Thursday, US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said the United States and the Philippines share a long list of security interests and a 70-year history of “rich people-to-people ties.”
And the United States is one of the Philippines’ strongest economic partners, she said. US companies have invested more than $4.7 billion in the Philippines.
Duterte tells Obama to ‘go to hell’ 02:05

Support?

Duterte has huge popularity ratings in the Philippines but his tilt away from Washington may not be supported by most Filipinos.
A recent opinion poll of 1,200 adults found that the trust rating of the United States stood at +66 compared with -33 for China.
“Duterte has made extra effort to sell China as a benevolent partner but it’s a tough sell,” said Heydarian.
Ties with China hit a low in July, when the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled that China’s historical claim to the disputed waters was invalid.
China refused to participate in the tribunal’s proceedings and, in the wake of the ruling, Chinese boycotted Philippines-grown dried mango.
It was a huge victory that Duterte has chosen not to capitalize on despite once pledging to ride into the South China Sea on a jet ski while carrying the Philippines flag.
Instead, said Heydarian, Duterte has chosen to focus on China’s deeper pockets in the hope of lucrative trade deals.

Russia Against The U.S. Or The U.S. Against Russia Type Policies Show Ignorance; Not Strength

Russia Against The U.S. Or The U.S. Against Russia Type Policies Show Ignorance; Not Strength

It does seem to me that during the 14 years that President Putin has been in power that the nation of Russia has constantly grown further away from having good ties with the United States. I do put a lot of blame on America/Americans for Mr. Putin ever coming to power in Russia in the first place though. We here in American movies, media outlets as well as the talking heads in D.C. were always slamming Russia for being backwards and incompetent. How could the American idiots not have known that they were not just slamming a picture on a map, they were constantly slapping the people of Russia in the face for the actions of their pathetic Communist government. The people were constantly having their national and personal pride stomped on by a bunch of ego maniacs who were too uncaring or too ignorant to care. This is not how you build friendships with a people/Nation, it is how you destroy relationships. When the Soviet Union crashed in the fall of 1989 large Capitalist Corporations simply saw red meat concerning the people and resources they could get control of. About a 150 years ago after the American Civil War ended there ware folks that were labeled as Carpet-bagger’s for their actions like what the wealthiest of the West has done to the poorest of the Russian population.

 

I am a person that believes that Russia, China, America and the E.U. need to work together as friends, bringing in the smaller nations that surround us in a real barricade against the spread of Islamic extremest within our borders. The people of Russia that I have met in my life as well as the folks from that region of the world are just like everyone else. They want personal security for themselves their families and their businesses. They want a roof over their heads, food to eat and regular trash pick-up and to be left alone by the government. There are a lot of people in the governments of countries like China and Russia who do not believe in their being any God (I’m sure there are some of those in the U.S. government also). Folks that mindset is much easier to work with, to live with, than a religion that’s stated goal is to kill everyone on Earth who doesn’t follow 100% their beliefs. Of course there is always the issue of whom is the Judge at any particular moment as to whom gets their head lifted.

 

I personally don’t know just how we the non-Islamic world will be able to come together with all the divides we keep throwing at each other from D.C., Moscow and Beijing but our government and military officials on all sides of the Big Ponds need to get their heads out of their behinds before they get them cut off with them permanently stuck there. Our so-called leaders need to start focusing on the avenues of good that can be followed and nurtured between our Nations and our cultures before we have no Nation, Culture, or Head!