There are several ways in which China’s Family Planning policies are enforced – social welfare benefits, and fines for additional children. IUDs, sterilisations, and abortions are also used liberally to maintain a low birth rate. The big problem comes when officials’ career prospects are tied to minimising births in their jurisdiction – opening the door to abuses of power.
There’s been a lot of press this week about China ending the One Child Policy. The story is more complicated than most people realise. Many couples were never restricted to one child in the first place. In this post I’ll explain the history of the policy, and what it really entails.
I have written about the Great Wall before, but mostly in general. Today I am writing about one particular section of the wall – Badaling. My parents visited in 1983, I first visited in 1999, and most recently in 2012. Comparing the photos is fun!
In my last post I introduced THIRTY common words all pronounced “shi”. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that with so many homophones, Mandarin has some fantastic tongue-twisters. And by “fantastic” I mean “utterly impossible to recite”.
Today I’m going to introduce you to words pronounced “shi” – a great example of the wonderful confusion that is homophones in Mandarin. There are TWO HUNDRED characters for the sound “shi”and I use at least 30 of them. They are split up between different tones, but still that’s a whole lot of shi.
The Yu Gardens, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Shanghai, were built nearly 450 years ago. I visited three times between 1999 and 2012; my parents also went in March 1983. I very much enjoyed Yu Yuan – there is so much to find and see and take in. It is a lovely, peaceful place with lots of history.
Tiantan is a large temple complex and one of my favourite tourist spots in Beijing. I’ve seen it in dusted with snow, full of blossoms, shrouded by pollution, and sparkling in sunlight. I love the peaceful stands of trees, the beautiful old temples, and also the chaotic noise of many groups of (usually older) people doing exercises or enjoying music together.
In May I ran a tea-tasting afternoon with friends at college. 20 people dropped by to try the seven teas I provided. My favourite part of the afternoon was hearing all the different favourites – pretty much every tea was someone’s favourite.
In this post I am going to introduce you to teas infused with, or made of, ingredients other than Camellia Sinensis leaves. There are scented teas like Jasmine and Osthamanthus, flower teas like Rose and Chrsyanthemum, blooming teas, and even tea made of lichen.
Many categories of Chinese tea are known by a colour designation: White, Green, Yellow, Red, Blue-Green, and Black. Differences in leaf and process, amount of fermentation (and other factors) create the different categories.
One of the things I appreciate most about my new life here in Sydney is that there are lots of moments that remind me of China – meals at Chinese restaurants, snippets of Chinese conversation with classmates, hearing Mandarin spoken about me almost every time I’m out in public… It really helps me on the days homesickness lifts its head.
The phrase “I love you” is used very differently in Chinese than in English. For many people the phrase 我爱你 just feels/sounds wrong. Last year a video of Chinese young adults saying “I love you” to their parents – and the parents’ shocked reactions – went viral.