China Unlimited Special Report: at the heart of Beijing

China Unlimited 1

© The European Sting

The first day of the China Unlimited trip commenced with the opening ceremony at Hanban Headquarters, China’s main body of dissemination and growth of Chinese language and culture in the world. This task is being delivered through a wide network of Confucius Institutes all around the globe, enhancing students of Chinese language and welcoming them to the richness of the Chinese culture.

Mrs Chen Mo, the Director of the Division of International Exchanges at Hanban, addressed a warm welcome to all the winners of the China Unlimited competition and explained the way Confucius Institutes operate around the world. The presentation was accompanied by a number of testimonials given by international students of Chinese language, coming from all around the globe, speaking in fluent Chinese and confirming the Confucius Institute’s effectiveness and overall progress. The meeting was followed by a refreshing audiovisual multimedia experience about Chinese language and culture.

The Dashanzi Art District

China Unlimited 2.png

© The European Sting

Following the enthusiastic welcome ceremony at Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, the China Unlimited delegation was guided at a unique cultural hub of Beijing, the Dashanzi Art District. An area of unparalleled artistic importance, to the extent that very few areas in the world can be compared, this unique quartier hosts a plethora of art galleries of any type of art. Walking in the streets of the district is one of the most fascinating urban experiences one can live, passing by one gallery after the other, shopping in art shops and resting in picturesque cafes and restaurants. Dashanzi art District feels like a city within Beijing, a city where time stops and art reigns.

China Unlimited 3

© The European Sting

The smell of paint is vivid, as well as the figures of Chinese and international artists on their way to their atelier. An artist from the China Unlimited delegation rushed to describe it as “my Disneyland”. This quartier though is not only addressed to artists where they find the place they naturally belong. This artistic urban nest is for all; for every Chinese citizen or the citizen of the world to mingle with Chinese art in all its forms and glory, breathing the smell of fresco as she walks by or making new friends by exchanging opinions about an art piece.

Dashanzi Art3

© The European Sting

 

Dashanzi art2

© The European Sting

Dashanzi Art District is surely  a creativity cradle in Beijing and one of the few places in the world where urban blocks can be formed by galleries, houses, bookstores, cafes and restaurants purified from the feeling of commercialism as in thematic parks. This district could be possibly compared with a Biennale with all its pavilions, only that it does not happen every two years and it is not composed by prefabricated constructs where the visitor pays a ticket to visit. Dashanzi Art is there, live, 365 days per year and it is for everybody. An infinite art district of the world that upgrades urban life and induces all citizens or random walkers to the final destination of art: The Art of Living.

 

The Red Theatre

Red Theatre

© The European Sting

The first day of the China Unlimited trip closed with a fascinating Chinese dance drama at the famous Red Theatre of Beijing. Dance drama in China is a privilege to experience as it provides a rare understanding of Chinese history and culture, together with the social ties and values that the Chinese society holds upon. Attending a famous red theatre drama right after Dashanzi Art District signified to the China Unlimited winners the rich transition from Chinese modern art to the very basics of the Chinese culture.

 

 

 

 

Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese Calligraphy

© The European Sting

In the morning of the second day of the China Unlimited trip the winners were hosted by the Beijing International Chinese College (BICC), a private institution whose aim and aspiration is to teach Chinese language to international students in Beijing. Gifted BICC professors gave a profound presentation of the history of Chinese language, its transition through the dynasties and most of all the explanation of Chinese calligraphy. All the westerners in the room had the chance to find out that Chinese calligraphy is a sine qua non for Chinese culture and language. The talented BICC teacher said in the classroom that it is the school’s scope to develop the Chinese students’ talent in the drawing of Chinese Characters correctly but also with aesthetic beauty and harmony. The teacher also revealed that Chinese Calligraphy is so important to Chinese culture that youngsters with non aesthetic hand-writing of Chinese characters rarely land on good jobs in China.

Overall, the morning sessions at BICC were a rare opportunity for the delegation to truly grasp the fundamental pillars of the Chinese language, its evolution from the traditional to the simplified characters and the power of the language to sustain the communication of a couple of billion of Chinese people around the globe. Certainly one should not also forget how the robustness of the Chinese language and character structure have been the source of inspiration for a number of other languages and cultures in Asia.

Hutong Area

Huton Area

© The European Sting

In the afternoon of the second day of the China Unlimited trip the delegation was escorted from the Chinese language classes, to one of the most spectacular and traditional parts of the old city in Beijing, Hutong. A district at the heart of the city, well preserved and maintained as it was in the past centuries, Hutong is undeniably a treasure at the heart of the city of Beijing. The picturesque houses with the big majestic door, the elevated footstep at the entrance together with tokens that signal the history of the family and its importance, the traditional tools outside, everything creates a unique atmosphere and feeling to any foreign visitor. Commuting with the traditional bike taxis in the narrow alleys one can feel in the breeze an old smell and vivid taste from ancient Beijing.

Hutong Area 2

© The European Sting

Moreover, the winners of the China Unlimited trip had the honour to become guests of a local family in Hutong. A uniquely structured interior, with all the traditional rooms of the house built around a central yard, was able to give a glimpse of the old Chinese society to the guest, right from the door’s footstep. The atelier of the daughter of the family was a bonus for the visitor, being able to witness complex painting techniques on glass. Moments away from the Beijing Bell Tower and the Tian’ Anmen Square, Hutong, an old and traditional district of old Beijing, maintains its upmarket value with a rare cultural essence reminiscent of the roots of China, leading the way for the present and future of the country’s capital.

Hutong2

© The European Sting

Hutong Area

© The European Sting

Chinese Acrobatics

acrobatic show

© The European Sting

Heading towards the end of the second day of the Beijing visit, the China Unlimited winners had the opportunity to amuse themselves in a special Chinese acrobatic show. From aesthetically pleasing and difficult stunts, to acrobats risking their lives and the inclusion of five motorcycles running simultaneously inside an iron cage, the acrobatic show demonstrated the diversity and richness of Chinese acrobatics.

 

 

 

 

 

acrobatic show 3

© The European Sting

The Capital Museum

Capital Museum 4

© The European Sting

The third day of the China Unlimited visit found the winners of the competition at Beijing Capital Museum. A masterpiece of modern architecture at the heart of this vast city the museum offers a rare collection of artifacts depicting Beijing’s vibrant history. The different levels provided the pleasure to the visitors to see anything from ancient Buddha statues made from gold or bronze found in ancient Beijing, to Chinese fine porcelain vases and other cultural tools and exhibits. What was truly inspiring at the Capital museum was its thoughtful structure, allowing the visitor to create a clear image in his mind about how Beijing looked like in the course of time throughout the different Dynasties. This museum is surely a jewel for Beijing, a unique chance to know about the history of the city right at its mere heart.

 

Capital Museum

© The European Sting

Beijing Olympic Complex

Bird Nest3

© The European Sting

The dusk of the third and last day in Beijing found the delegation at the city’s modern Olympic Complex, the main Olympic campus for Beijing’s Olympic games in 2008. Naturally, the attention of the visitor was attracted immediately by the National Olympic Stadium of China, or else “Bird Nest”. A magnificent architectural design that every architect in the world would be fond of, creates at once a majestic sentiment to the visitor of China’s super modern Olympic complex. The immense LED screen on the periphery of the stadium, embedded in between steel rods, shows the connectivity between structural architecture and technology. Certainly, although the “Bird Nest” is an eye-catcher, the Beijing Olympic complex is much more than this. The gigantic famous “Water Cube” stadium, the stadium where the swimming pool at the 2008 Olympics is sheltered, already from its exterior LED lights, structure and shape adds up to the state of the art architectural work spent in the design of this unique sports complex.

bird nest 5

© The European Sting

bird nest 6

© The European Sting

Apart from the numerous stadiums of progressive modern architecture, what is truly worth mentioning here is the extent Beijing has capitalized on its Olympic sports facilities, post the Olympic Games. China has made sure to make this huge investment a pole of attraction for the Beijing citizens, a place to spend an afternoon or evening with friends or family, a place to do sports or relax. And all this with free access to everybody. The plethora of people enjoying their evening at the complex, together with the plurality of events taking place for every age, from children to elderly, leaves no doubt of thinking China as the true example of how to upgrade the real Return on Investment (ROI) in sports. Undeniably this image of the Beijing Olympic Complex strongly contradicts the sad images of the deserted and wrecked sport facilities of other Olympic Games hosts like the ones in Athens in 2004 or the images of the Olympic Complex in Rio likely to be taken in 4 years from now. China has surely a lot of lessons to teach the world. Post Olympic Games infrastructure and management is certainly one to add to the long list.

Bird Nest Beijing

© The European Sting

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From drone swarms to modified E. Coli: say hello to a new wave of cyberattacks

Human Rights breaches in Russia, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso

Protector or polluter? The impact of COVID-19 on the movement to end plastic waste

In Pakistan, Guterres urges world to step up climate action, praises support to Afghan refugees

It ain’t over until Google says it’s over

New UN report launched to help ratchet up action to combat climate crisis

This 12-year-old built an underwater robot to fight plastic pollution

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

At UN forum, Asia-Pacific countries highlight importance of transport for sustainable development

Why we need to redefine trust for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Yemen blast kills 14 children, leaves others fighting for their lives in Sana’a

Asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, symptomatic: what is the difference?

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Keep Africa’s guns ‘from firing in the first place’, UN political chief urges

3 things you need to know about securing a blockchain

Peace will be ‘paramount’ issue for incoming Afghan Government: UN mission chief

Seven trends shaping the future of the mining and metals industry

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

Portugal can use its economic recovery to build up resilience

From me to we: COVID-19 heralds a new model of entrepreneurship

Recession: the best argument for growth

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

A chemistry professor explains: why soap is so good at killing COVID-19

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Why gin made from peas helps the environment

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

A comprehensive strategy for Eurozone’s long term growth gains momentum

Myanmar and UN agriculture agency agree framework to improve nutrition and food security

Paris, Washington, IMF against Berlin and ECB on money and interest

Darfur: Inter-communal tensions still high despite improved security, Mission head tells Security Council

How speaking ‘parentese’ to your child could make them a faster learner

The completion of the European Banking Union attracts billions of new capital for Eurozone banks

Medicine and mental health: relax, the doctor is a lifelong learner

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

To build a resilient world, we must go circular. Here’s how to do it

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

What will Germany look like after the next election?

In the United States, there aren’t enough hours in the week to make rent

How digital remittances can help drive sustainable development

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

EU decides “in absentia” of civil society

Germany loses leading export place

New Africa-Caribbean-Pacific/EU Partnership: moving forward towards a new partnership fit for the future

Renewed pressures on Berlin to adopt growth policies

Four things Turkey did for business in the G20

Better training ‘a necessary and strategic investment’ in peacekeeping that saves lives: Guterres

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change-the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, yet overlooked in climate negotiations?” IFMSA wonders from COP21 in Paris

Why women aren’t allowed to work

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’

Zuckerberg preaches that Artificial Intelligence will protect Data Privacy in Facebook whereas Verhofstadt demands the big European state to take charge

COVID-19 is a threat to waste pickers. Here’s how to help them

Water reuse: Commission welcomes the provisional agreement on minimum requirements for water reuse in agriculture

Milk, fruits and vegetables distributed to schoolchildren thanks to EU programme

EU legislation protecting home buyers approved in Parliament

Commission welcomes Bulgaria and Croatia’s entry into the Exchange Rate Mechanism II

False promises to Small and Medium Enterprises

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s