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The Search for Modern China by Jonathan D. Spence

In the late sixteenth century, after two hundred years of rule, the Ming Dynasty seemed at the height of its achievement. From science and the arts, to governance and technology, China at this time was as advanced, if not superior to any of its counterparts in Europe.

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West Lake in the Snow

How many times did I go to Hangzhou last year? Two? Three? I'm not sure. But it seemed every chance I had I was back there, trying once and for all to put to bed my earlier impression of the city as being "nothing but a lake and tourists".

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Beautiful Hong Kong: An Ignominy In Pictures

Every year in Hong Kong it's the same - the clear skies of summer give way to the dreaded haze around September, and things generally don't improve until well after the following spring. That's six months of dire views, failed photographs, and people moaning about how every year Hong Kong's air pollution gets worse.

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Hong Kong Vanity Plates: Series 8

It's been a while, but the Hong Kong vanity plate extravaganza makes a welcome return this week, and things seem to have taken a bit of a religious turn on the streets of Hong Kong. Maybe it's new year nerves sending people searching for that little extra nudge in the right direction for the coming twelve months ...

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The Great Stock Photography Hunt: Part 2

First I find one of my photos on the BBC homepage and now this - hidden away on the last slide of a bit of filler in the Telegraph's travel section. Giddy heights indeed!

I know this isn't exactly front page of National Geographic stuff, but as I noted in The Great Stock Photography Hunt: Part 1, since most stock photos simply disappear into the ether once they are licensed, the photographer rarely gets to see what becomes of their precious intellectual property or to what use it is put. You may be told in a very general sense the intended use, media, territory and duration of that usage ...

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Photo of the Week #12: CY Leung Gets Egged

Poor old CY Leung. Not only is he a complete non-entity as a politician - a man for whom the words "in the best interests of Hong Kongers" elicit no more than a vacant blink and a confused shake of the head - but he's now been caricatured and repeatedly egged for all to see at the annual Lunar New Year fair in Victoria Park.

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Central Plaza, Hong Kong

It may look like the space rocket from 1980s cartoon Button Moon, but Central Plaza is perhaps the most elegant of all the Hong Kong skyscrapers. Completed in 1992 and standing 374 m tall, Central Plaza is 78 storeys of high-rise chunkiness that dominates the Wan Chai skyline and maybe even that of Hong Kong Island itself.

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Film Review: A Better Tomorrow (1986)

Am I really the only person in the last twenty five years to think John Woo's A Better Tomorrow (英雄本色) is an enormous crock of horse manure? It certainly seems so. Voted the second best Chinese language film of all time at the 2005 Hong Kong Film Awards and - maybe a little more sensibly - the 17th greatest by ...

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