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福! New Year Wishes from Beijing

The Chinese character 福 (fú), meaning good fortune or happiness, seen on a traditional red lantern in the Temple of Earth Park, Beijing. You can see this character everywhere during Chinese New Year - on lanterns, on doors and windows, on red pockets, and almost anything else new year-related ...

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Changsha: Welcome to Mao Town

Changsha. It's not exactly the kind of place you would choose to spend three days. Perhaps the best you could say about the city is that it doesn't promise anything it doesn't deliver. The fact that it doesn't promise all that much to begin with, therefore, leaves plenty of scope to be pleasantly surprised.

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Gangster Kids, Fenghuang

I’m just back from a week in Hunan Province and this is possibly the highlight of my trip. They were taken in the formerly quaint riverside village, now tourist-swamped theme park, of Fenghuang in the west of the province, and whereas the grown men that were dressing up like this just seemed a little sad and pathetic ...

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Video: More frightfully crowded fun in Beijing

If my approach to the Fragrant Hills had been an unwelcome shock to the system as my anticipated relaxing getaway had turned into something akin to the closing stages of a disaster movie, it had at least prepared me for what was to come on my escape, when the full horror of the Chinese tourist trap was laid before me, crowds, chaos, noise, and all.

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Airpocalypse! Beijing International Marathon 2014
gas-mask-beijing-marathon

It was supposed to be a festival of running, a celebration of individual achievement beneath the blue skies of Beijing. Instead, the 2014 Beijing Marathon made headlines around the world for very different reasons, demonstrating not the city's suitability as a place for staging international events, but one which is increasingly a city not fit for any habitable purpose.

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Chinese Signs #1: Please fasten your seat belt

After my latest long-distance bus adventure in China, traveling from Putuoshan to Hangzhou last week, I decided it might be useful to start a Chinese Signs series in order to firstly, brush up on my own Chinese, and secondly, to try and share a few new characters for those who are living or travelling in China and attempting to learn some of the language in the meantime.

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