Bon Jovi concerts in China cancelled due to support for Tibet and Dalai Lama

A string of Bon Jovi’s first-ever concerts in China have been cancelled, presumable after the Culture Ministry discovered a photo of Bon Jovi with the Dalai Lama

World Religion News:

It looks like Jon Bon Jovi won’t be singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” in Mandarin any time soon. The long-standing rock front man of the self-named band Bon Jovi would have been performing for the very first time in China at major concerts in Beijing and Shanghai if the Chinese government hadn’t forced those shows to be canceled, TIME reported. Currently on a major world tour with concert dates scheduled across Asia in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and others, the dates scheduled in Bangkok and Shanghai were canceled by Chinese authorities, who have not given any explicit reasons to the band or to the organizers of the tour, AEG Live Asia.

The most prevalent theory about why the sudden cancellations occurred that has been circulating the Internet is relatively obvious considering, if it turns out to be true, Bon Jovi would just be part of a string of bands to be banned from performing shows in China because of their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. As was reported in the Financial Times, apparently the very powerful and influential Culture Ministry for China’s ruling Communist Party found an image of Bon Jovi performing in front of a giant video screen with His Holiness the Dalai Lama featured on it at a concert in 2010.

“The issue of Tibet is especially sensitive right now as the Communist Party marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of what it calls the Tibet Autonomous Region”, said TIME.

Approaching the ever controversial 50th anniversary of what many in the Western world view as a continuing travesty in which China began governing Tibet after the Battle of Chamdo in 1950, the same time when the current Dalai Lama was enthroned. After being forced into exile in India with the remnants of the Tibetan government, where they established the Central Tibetan Administration in exile.

Pro-Tibet stances are not new or unusual, and many of the world’s most famous stars and celebrities have made public their support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama. There have been several other bands and musicians who have found themselves banned from China for support of Tibet, like Bjork in 2008, to Maroon 5, who were supposed to play a concert in China this month, but were forced to cancel after one member of the band tweeted a “Happy Birthday” message to the Dalai Lama’s active Twitter account of nearly 12 million followers.

TIME reports that Bon Jovi’s Chinese concerts’ organizers were attempting to convince the Culture Ministry of the People’s Republic of China to reconsider the move to cancel the concerts, but it does not appear at this time that Bon Jovi’s status in China is likely to change.

Ai Weiwei gets his passport back after four years

I have no idea why. This is not something I can say… I feel pleased. This was something that needed to be done… I think they should have given it back some time ago and maybe after so many years they understand me better.

Michael Jordan will take his trademark dispute case to China’s highest court

Michael Jordan will take his trademark case against Qiaodan Sports to China’s supreme court. The company had built its reputation around the former Chicago Bulls superstar without his consent, imitating the player’s signature persona with his Chinese name “Qiaodan” and famed jersey number “23.”

Jordan first sued the Fujian province-based sportswear company in 2012, but the local courts ruled in the opposition’s favor. The decision was upheld by the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, causing the shoe magnate to appeal the case to Supreme People’s Court for retrial.

For more on this story, visit Yahoo.

China launches program to instruct its people on how to behave while abroad

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RocketNews 24:

While Chinese tourists have occasionally made the headlines for their less-than-stellar behavior while abroad, their biggest critics are in fact those at home, as well-to-do Chinese lash out with harsh criticism of their “barbaric” countrymen.

In an effort to curb the unruly behavior of some Chinese tourists overseas, the Chinese government has announced that it will be launching several campaigns to better educate people on how to conduct themselves when outside the country, and is even encouraging the public shaming of those who bring shame on China through their behavior.

Li Jingzao, head of the China National Tourism Administration, announced that the administration will be building a database to categorize and profile the “uncivilized behavior” of Chinese tourists abroad. Recent acts which attracted mockery and disdain online include the AirAsia incident in which a Chinese woman allegedly threw hot water at a crew member, as well as one in which a Chinese passenger opened up the emergency exit door shortly before take-off “to get some fresh air.”

Li pointed out that these occurrences and many more showed that the China did not have a firm policy in place and that many Chinese do not understand the concept of civilized behavior abroad. Beijing is also hopeful that the programs will help improve China’s reputation on the international playing field and in turn attract more tourists.

Those reported and profiled under this program will apparently be punished duly, and the administration hopes to not only extinguish ill behavior, but also stamp out cases of Chinese tourists who falsify personal information or lie about their reasons for travelling.Proposed solutions include making marked individuals sign a contract or pay a deposit before leaving the country. China will also work with telecom companies to send a message to remind tourists to “stay safe, be polite, keep hygienic, be quiet, no graffiti and stick to the rules” upon reaching their destination.

Beijing will also encourage citizens to keep an eye on one another by having them snap pictures or videos of bad behavior, and posting the photos or footage online for public shaming. Quite how encouraging its own people to leave a permanent record of such behavior online will help improve China’s reputation, though, we’re not entirely sure.

On a lighter note, the administration also plans to invite celebrity figures to remind people to “travel in a civilized manner” when visiting other countries. They also plan to select 10,000 university students each year to travel during their summer vacations to spread the message of good behavior abroad, so we can probably expect to see lots of young, good-looking Chinese smiling and holding doors open for people at tourist spots around the world in the near future.

Could a ratings system improve the Chinese film and television industry?

A publicity photo handout for the TV drama Empress of China, which was censored to crop out any regions below women’s necks with exposed cleavage.

ChinaFile:

It all started with plunging necklines. After the sudden withdrawal and subsequent sanitizing of a popular Chinese show, viewers in China have renewed longstanding calls to strip government censors of their power, using one simple solution: a ratings system for television and film. Shortly after its December 21 premier, the series Empress of China rose to swift popularity on the shoulders of beautiful women in expensive period costumes featuring abundant décolletage. But the series was yanked from airwaves shortly after its debut, only to return on January 1 with a glaring lack of cleavage; censors had replaced the more revealing scenes with close-ups cropping out any region below women’s necks. The outcry and downright mockery that resulted says much about why Chinese entertainment continues to fall short of its massive potential.

Soon after Empress‘s inglorious return to the small screen, Chinese social media demanded the original’s return. They argued that low-cut garments were true to the history of that period. They complained the revised show comprised so many head-shots that it might as well be called “The Legend of Empress Big Head.” They posted satirical images of other movies, photographs, and works of art similarly cropped to ridiculous effect, including the Mona Lisa, the statue Venus de Milo, and the former Communist strongman Mao Zedong. Media outlet Sina Entertainment reported on January 5 that viewership has slipped since its post-censorship return to the airwaves, jeopardizing the big-budget show’s profitability.

 

Chinese authorities issued no statement explaining their rationale, but they likely believed Empress to be too salacious for younger viewers. If that were the case, it would have sufficed to rate the series for mature audiences—except China has no such system. A widely read January 3 blog post on Hong Kong-based Phoenix Media explained official refusal to implement a ratings system this way:

Officials believe that “if people are exposed to elegant things, they will become elegant; if they are unable to view vulgar things, they will be cut off from vulgarity.” By contrast, “With a ratings system, there will be both elegant and vulgar things, and ignorant people cannot help but choose what is vulgar.”

The author of the post rejected that logic, positing that a “cultural products rating system” was the only way to resolve the contradiction between “creative freedom” and limits to what some might be able to see.

On January 5, even state news agency Xinhua chimed in. The incident demonstrated that “China’s television and film management process is insufficient,” the Xinhua article asserted, adding that “experts” recommended the immediate adoption of a ratings system in order to “give television market management a ‘law’ to rely upon”—an invocation of the Communist Party’s recent rhetorical emphasis on rule by law. Some were less circumspect. “This whole thing is one big joke,” commented one user of Weibo, China’s largest micro-blogging platform. “The fundamental cause is that our country doesn’t have a television ratings system.”

China’s government has thus far been unwavering. The Xinhua article was later removed, though it can still be viewed on other websites. The adoption of film and television ratings has long been a hot topic in China, so much so that in August 2010, the powerful State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) felt compelled to reject the proposals. And though Chinese netizens have continued to push for a ratings system, no system has yet been adopted. The official argument against a film and television rating system—that it is not “suited” to China because it can not guarantee youth would not be exposed to inappropriate materials—has irked people for years. A popular June 2011 post on discussion forum Zhihu criticized the government’s desire to control even the possibility of young people’s exposure to sexually explicit material. “The Chinese film market is the fastest growing in the world,” the author wrote. “Whether or not to adopt a rating system shouldn’t even be a point of discussion.” Without ratings, and the resulting market segmentation that in turn drives investment and creates a strong business environment, “Chinese movies cannot experience a true artistic and business boom.”

For now, works produced in the West, not to mention the relatively tiny South Korea, continue to outshine Chinese efforts. “Works that are appropriate for everyone are rarely good,” declared Bi Xiaozhe, a prolific editorialist, in a January 5 op-ed syndicated in government mouthpiece People’s Daily. Bi acknowledged that the re-launchedEmpress of China was “now ‘appropriate for all audiences,’” but said “it has also lost its edge.” If classical Western art had to “avoid sex as well as the female body,” Bi asked, “would they still have become classics that have kept their appeal for hundreds or even thousands of years?” To leave a space for the creation of high-quality works—while also satisfying worried parents—China should “emulate the ratings model of Western countries.”

A popular January 6 essay on Weibo titled “Why do Korean Movies Completely Blow Chinese Movies Out of the Water?” partly attributed the success of Korean movies and dramas—hugely popular in China and throughout Asia—to South Korea’s own film and television ratings system. Allowing creators to work “completely without interference,” the author wrote, encourages private investment and drives competition. (For curious readers, a January 4 Sina article estimated what rating the uncut Empress of China might receive elsewhere: TV-PG or perhaps TV-14 in the United States; “15” in South Korea, and an outright ban from Saudi Arabian television.)

However sensible a Chinese ratings system may seem, censors wield the power to pick winners and losers in a massive market, and they are unlikely to part with that authority easily. Until that time, grassroots Chinese will continue to chortle at what they see as SAPPRFT’s prudishness, and imagine a Chinese film and television renaissance that still feels too far away.

Chinese buy Waldorf Astoria Hotel and other properties in NYC

Waldorf Astoria
Beyond Chinatown:

Last month, it was announced that Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group (安邦保险集團 /安邦保險集團) purchased luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria New York  for a 1.95 billion USD, the largest ever paid for a hotel and the largest single-asset transaction in New York this year.  Did they seal the deal over WeChat?

The seller, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. will operate the hotel under its current name for the next 100 years.  The new owner plans a “major renovation to restore the property to its historic grandeur”.

The US government, who has accused the Chinese government of spying (and been accused themselves), has espionage concerns over the sale.  It’s not just that Anbang’s founder and chairman Wu Xiaohui (吴小辉  / 吴小辉) is Deng Xiaoping’s grandson and its directors include Xiaolu Chen (陈小鲁 / 陳小魯) whose father, Chen Yi (陈毅 / 陳毅), was one of the Ten Marshals of the People’s Liberation Army, former Mayor of Shanghai, and former Foreign Minister and Zhu Yunlai (朱云来 / 朱雲來), son of former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji (朱镕基 / 朱鎔基).  The Waldorf Astoria is the home of the US Ambassador to the United Nations and hosts leaders and diplomats from around the world.  Of course the Chinese know this.  Deng Xiaoping himself stayed and met with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the hotel in 1974.

The acquisition of the property is part of a trend of Chinese real estate investment in United States that sees Chinese nationals as the top foreign buyers of property in the United States by value:

According to the National Realtors Association (NAR) survey, the Chinese spent $22 billion on U.S. housing in the 12 months through March — 72 percent more than they spent the year before. Among foreign buyers, Canadians ranked highest in the share of transactions, at 19 percent, but the Chinese bought by far the most expensive homes, with a median price of over half a million dollars. That’s compared to the $213,000 spent by the average Canadian buyer of U.S. real estate, $141,000 spent by the average Mexican, and about $200,000 spent by the average American.

In 44 states, they are in the top 5 of all foreign buyers.  The boom in foreign real estate investment is due in part to growing wealth, government restrictions back home to tamp down corruption and property speculation, a desire to diversify investments, and a belief in the stability foreign investments.  According to The Wall Street Journal,

Real-estate agents typically divide buyers into four distinct groups: the super-wealthy buying properties upward of $15 million for personal use; those buying homes for a few million dollars, also for personal use; those purchasing investment properties, usually in the $1 million to $2 million range, to lease out; and those buying in bulk, as a commercial strategy.

A Chinese woman is reported to have bought a 6.5 million USD apartment in the shadow-casting ultra-luxury tower One57 for her two-year old daughter.

In New York City, high-profile properties in which Chinese have taken a significant stake include 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, the General Motors Building (home of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store), and Park Avenue Plaza.   Chinese developers, who have learned to manage large projects from experience at home, are involved with ground-up construction of properties such as a luxury condo buildings in Williamsburg at 429 Kent Avenue (with listings on China’s leading Chinese real estate site fang.com) and in Midtown Manhattan at 610 Lexington Avenue. The Greenland Group Co. will own a 70% part of the Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), a controversial development project in Brooklyn that began with the Barclays Center.

Queens, where you may have noticed a lot of Chinese people live, has also seen significant Chinese real estate investment.

Link

China’s painful solution to homeless living under bridges and overpasses

 

Chinas Painful Solution to Homeless Living Under Bridges picture

Weird Asia News:

With the rising number of homeless people finding their way into the urban areas of China, the government has provided a solution for chasing them out.

The PRC government recently decided to put up concrete spikes, measuring 20 cm in height each, under the city bridges to prevent people from squatting in these public areas.

Undoubtedly, people have criticized the government for this. One blogger wrote, “If you are in favor of razing these spikes that have stabbed at people’s heart, please retweet. Return a resting place to homeless people.”

Another netizen commented, “What a disgrace!!! Which country doesn’t have homeless people?

 

Check out this link: 

China’s painful solution to homeless living under bridges and overpasses 

Chinas Painful Solution to Homeless Living Under Bridges picture

Chinas Painful Solution to Homeless Living Under Bridges picture