It doesn’t matter how many times you tell the cook not to add hot peppers, anything you order in Chongqing is going to be mouth-numbing and hotter than anything you’ve ever tasted before. It will be good, but it will be hot. From hotpot joints and street-corner barbecues to cold noodles served out of buckets dangling from a bamboo pole, Chongqing’s street vendors operate late into the night. You’ll be lucky to get a table at the restaurants on Tiyu Road, an area in Chongqing’s central Yuzhong district and ground zero for the city’s street food scene. But just about every little road throughout the city has a few cooks that set up shop on the street. In the morning, you can find savory fried dough, rice porridge, and pots of steaming hot “flower” tofu, ready to be garnished with an assortment of beans, nuts, herbs, and, of course, fiery peppers. Read more and see more photos on ChinaFile
(…) Released on Thursday, the film follows the lives of two Chinese families — one a mining family in rural Hebei Province, and the other a cosmopolitan family in hyper-urban Beijing. The film is intended to show that every Chinese citizen, regardless of socioeconomic status or geography, is affected by dirty air.
“I wanted to make a film that enlightens people, not frightens them,” Mr. Jia said in a news release. “The issue of smog is something that all the citizens of the country need to face, understand and solve in the upcoming few years.”
Source: Film Highlights Air Pollution’s Broad Reach By Amy Qin, January 22, 2015. Read more on Sinosphere
Robbbb has only been working as a street artist for three years but identifies his role as helping to document the rapidly changing urban and social environment in Beijing. It is among the cities crumbling ruins that he feels his work belongs – “Ruins are temporary [and] so are my works but I hope they’ll leave some mark in Beijing’s history”.
At present there is no specific law against street art in China but he believes this will change in the near future as people, and the authorities, begin to understand the subversive element of the movement.
To see more of the artist’s work, visit his website HERE.
In 2011, China had more people living in urban areas than rural areas for the first time in its history, and recent government statistics show that around 300 villages disappear per day in China. Yet in the face of rapid urbanization, a “back to land movement” is now also emerging. A new mini-documentary by Sun Yunfan and Leah Thompson, Down to the Countryside, looks at urban residents who, fed up with city life, are looking to revitalize the countryside, while preserving local tradition. The documentary follows Ou Ning, an artist and curator, who moved from Beijing to the village of Bishan, in Anhui province, in 2013. Ning considers himself part of China’s “new rural reconstruction movement,” and the documentary shows his quest to develop the rural economy and bring arts and culture to the countryside.
Learn more about the film on China File and check out an interview with the directors on CityLab.
A kindergarten at a demolition site in the city of Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The photo was taken by China Stringer Network and published by Reuters on 8 December 2014.
According to the local government, the kindergarten has been running without a license and will be forced to shut down. The owner of the school signed the 20-year lease agreement three months before the demolition work started. On 8 December, the mother of a 2 and a half year old toddler went to the school to ask for a fee reimbursement. Apparently, she had not payed attention to the surrounding area when registering her infant and actually quite liked the environment.
The first photo was taken on 21 November 2014 in Pudong New District, Shanghai. The second was taken in Guangzhou, and was featured in an articled written by Alex Millson, and published by the South China Morning Post on 2 April 2014. They reflect two consequences of the CCP’s policies. The first one might be a result of the One-Child Policy, the second of the absence of a comprehensive social security system. According to the article, the city closed the doors of a “baby hatch” just after two months of its opening due to the overwhelming number of children who were abandoned, all of them ill or disabled.
Huangshan is one of China’s major touristic locations, a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracts millions of visitors annually, and the economy of Huangshan City still relies heavily on this tourism.
In this photo, taken by Tauno Tõhk, we can see the silhouette of a porter climbing through the mist, one of the many who travel up and down the mountain carrying supplies for the hotels and various facilities catering to tourists. Although there are many cable cars going up the mountain, these are for visitors, to experience new views of the beautiful landscape.
See more photos at Tauno Tõhk’s Flickr or his blog (in Estonian).
This photo of Kunming, much like Schoenmakers’ two weeks ago, highlights the juxtaposition of traditional and recent architecture that appears so frequently in China’s urban landscape. In the foreground we can see the rooftops around of the historical and cultural centre, which according to the photographer, had been recently renovated. He also explains:
Growing up in Kunming, I felt that it was fast developing city. The pleasant climate makes it a place businessmen want to invest and live in, and it is the rest stop for travelers visiting the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.
JiKang Lee is a freelance photographer based in Kunming. You can see more of his work on Fotokon’s blog and his Flickr.
The Chongqing Municipality counts over 50 bridges, twenty or so in the urban centre. Aside from two exceptions, Baishatuo Railway Bridge and Shibanpo Bridge, all of these bridges were built and opened during the last 20 years.
One of the most recent projects in Chongqing is the creation of the “Liangjiang bridge”: two bridges and a tunnel which span the Liangjiang New Area, from the south bank of the Yangtze, crossing the Yuzhong district, to the north bank of the Jialing River. The twin bridges were designed by T. Y. Lin International. The Dongshuimen Yangtze River Bridge (above) has been complete since 31 March 2014. The Qianximen Jialing River Bridge (below) has yet to be finished, but should be opened in June 2014.
Once upon a time, the main method of crossing the Yangtze and Jialing rivers was the cable cars, or ropeways, swinging high over the city from one hilltop to the other. Until 1960, there were no bridges crossing the Yangtze River around Chongqing.
The picture above shows the remaining ropeway which crosses the Yangtze River, starting from the Yuzhong peninsula. It is still in use as transport, but mostly serves as a tourist attraction. In the top left corner, we can see the latest bridge of many which ousted the ropeways: the Dongshuimen Bridge. The Jialing cable cars (pictured below) ceased operating in December 2013, as they slowly fell out of use because of increasing alternative and easier routes, such as tunnels and, of course, bridges.
This is the first post in a series focusing on photos of China, taken under Creative Commons licenses. These will relate to the themes of UrbaChina: territorial expansion, migration, urban communities, sustainability, etc.
This photo taken by Kevin Schoenmakers in 2013 highlights the contrasting urban landscape of Shanghai. In the foreground, we can see an early 20th century lilong in the Zhabei District, Shanghai, and in the background, a new high-rise. The Zhabei District transformed after the Communist liberation in 1949, when destroyed buildings and shanty towns were razed to build new residential areas. That transformation continued in the 1990s when shikumen houses (such as the ones in the picture) were demolished to make way for new constructions built to meet Shanghai’s target development. The district’s low housing prices make it an attractive place for migrants and is often described as “up-and-coming”.
Kevin Schoenmakers is a Dutch photographer currently living in Shanghai. You can see more of his photos of China on his Flickr or his website.
Yang Hui, known by his artist name Bahai, was born in Shanghai. He is a photographer and painter, who graduated from the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing. In 2010, àContreVue published an album of some of Bahai’s first photos of Shanghai in 1993, with the help of roots contemporary and Bergger. The àContreVue association’s mission is to support the work of photographers who have an alternative and humanist vision of our world (read more at their blog).
Yang Hui Bahai, painter, started photography when he returned to his hometown of Shanghai in 1992, after having spent three years in France. Camera in hand, he captures the changes in a city he believed his own but no longer recognises.
Since then, he has done one black and white story after another, snapshots of daily life: the last teahouses of Zhejiang Province, popular culture and religious traditions. Every season, he leaves his studio to capture shots based on chance encounters and then brings his pictures to life in the secret of his darkroom.
This selection depicts the inhabitants of an uncompromising Shanghai… A modern young woman turning away her eyes with disdain from a display of “shanghainese chickens” or fan repairers laughing behind their bowls of rice alcohol, those faces of seventeen years ago, serious or not, each tell the story of their city. They call the changes in Chinese society into question.1
These are the photos which inspired Françoise Ged’s book, Shanghai, presented last week. To learn more about Yang Hui Bahai visit his website and online photo gallery.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the China Energy Fund Committee organised a high-level panel and luncheon on sustainable urbanisation in China on 8 July 2014. Members participated in a lively discussion about China’s new urbanisation.
China is experiencing an unprecedented pace of urbanisation. The implementation of new urbanisation policies will greatly increase market size and create economic growth, such as trade and investment for the entire world. In this process, China can contribute to global environmental protection and climate change. China’s experience can also enrich the global collective experience of urbanisation. Content of the panel discussion and the radio reports can be found at the following links: http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/chinese/archives/208530/.
The government plans to move 215 millions people from rural areas to cities by the year 2025. One of the results awaited by the Chinese government by sustaining urbanisation is the creation of a consumer culture driving Chinese economy and raising standard living. But this plan will generate side effects concerning the integration of farmers moved into cities such as the lack of infrastructures (transports, houses, schools, hospitals) and the restricted access to public services for the people who are still registered as rural residents while they live since many years in the city.
“Currently, nearly 54 percent of Chinese live in cities, but only 36 percent are registered as urban residents (…). The plan calls for integrating 100 million of these second-class citizens, so that by 2020, 60 percent of Chinese should be living in cities, with 45 percent enjoying full urban status, the plan states”.
According to urban planners, to make this plan effective, the government will have to carry out two complementaries reforms which are taxe reform, in order to give more financial capacity to local authorities for investing into infrastructures, and farmers’ land rights reform, in order to give them the choice to keep or live their land. Two major reforms still however in the planning phase, according to Tao Ran, the acting director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy
Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris - Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).
Last week, Ai Chi-Han wrote a small article on community gardens in France. Similar trends can also be found in China, where urban dwellers are looking for healthier food. Small markets are now offering organic vegetables.
Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)