Outsourcing filial piety

by Verena Nowotny

Qingming, the Chinese Tomb Sweeping Festival, takes place on April 5 this year. However, many are too busy or simply cannot afford to visit the graves of their ancestors. Now online businesses offer a solution: rent a professional tomb sweeper who will clean the grave, offer respect and flowers as Mia Li describes in an article in the New York Times. Whether this really helps to keep traditions alive - I doubt it...

A price tag with 12 zeroes

by Verena Nowotny

The price tag is impressive. 42 trillion Yuan (5 trillion Euro) is the budget announced by the Chinese Ministry of Finance to raise the level of urbanization in China to 60 per cent by 2020.

A recent article in China Digital Times gives an overview about the discussion concerning these massive plans.

Babysteps towards a judicial reform

by Verena Nowotny

China's judicial system is still at the will of the Communist party. However, there are voices like Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court, who called for reforms at the National People’s Congress in March and for a more independent judicial system as the New York Times reports.

From Greenback to Redback

by Verena Nowotny

Frank Sieren got it right again: In his latest book Geldmacht China (German) the China expert describes how China wants to establish the Renminbi/Yuan as a leading currency in competition with the US dollar and the euro. Recent articles such as yesterday's in the New York Times indicate that Sieren is right.

TAGS: China | currency | Yuan |

Learning Chinese in a different way

by Verena Nowotny

Shaolan is from Taipei and the daughter of a calligrapher. This probably helped when she tried to develop a new way of teaching her children who grow up in UK to learn to read Chinese. Her new book Chineasy is wonderfully illustrated and fun to use. I'll give it a try!

What I am reading...

by Verena Nowotny

The China expert Francois Godement offers a thoughtful analysis about the annual meeting of the NPC, starting March 5, and how far the Chinese leadership might actually go when it comes to reforms. Godement's essay is on top of my current reading list...

TAGS: China | NPC | politics | reforms |

The Kunming Drama

by Verena Nowotny

This Foreign Policy article that first appeared in September 2013 on ChinaFile delivers valuable background about the long and painful history of the co-existence of Han-Chinese and Uighurs. It still does not explain why the awful tragedy in Kunming happened but it helps to understand the difficult situation of the different ethnic groups in China. 

Breath-taking view over Shanghai

by Verena Nowotny

Two Russian adventurers climb the Shanghai Tower that is still under construction and reach a breath-taking height of 650 meters.

Saving old traditions

by Verena Nowotny

China is on the move: about 250 million people are supposed to become urban citizens by 2025 according to the plans of the Chinese government. This massive change has a huge impact on the way people live, how traditions can be kept and passed on. Learn more about the various facets of urbanization with this video of the New York Times.

China loses its allure

by Verena Nowotny

Life is getting tougher for foreign companies in China. Or, as the Economist nicely summarizes the situation: more pain, less gain. China is no longer the place with cheap and limitless resources of labor. Competition is heating up. And last but not least, there is no "one China" but companies need to localize in order to please the regional tastes and preferences.