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Leading fashion designer Ma Yanli, also known as Mary Ma, says Chinese designers have no need to flaunt their Chinese origins in the clothes they produce.
The 41-year-old former supermodel and actress says they should aim instead to be as individualistic as Western designers. Ma, once described as China's answer to American model Cindy Crawford, was speaking at the Kerry Hotel in Beijing, ahead of the launch of her new clothing range that combines the simple look of a white blouse with blue jeans. The blouses, which will be available online later this month, will range in price from 399 yuan ($61) to 2,500 yuan.
Ma, who studied design at Shanghai-based Donghua University, launched Maryma Haute Couture in 2005. Earlier this year, her company was chosen to design outfits for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as well as leaders of five Asian countries for the welcome dinner of the 1st Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Sanya in South China's Hainan province. The design on the blue tunic made for the event had a representation of the Mekong River with a flower to mark each of the six countries that surround it. Ma says fashion in China is now beginning to reflect the "new normal" of slower growth and the general economic climate, and she expects black and gray to be a feature of what people wear this summer in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere.
She was on course to be a national rowing champion but injured her back badly in a boat accident.
Then, by chance, while out shopping in Shanghai, she was spotted by a modeling agent looking for talent. After being entered in the Shanghai International Modeling Competition in 1995, she went on to become China's first supermodel and had a successful career, resulting in her being the face of many advertising campaigns in China. She then combined this with an acting career, featuring in the TV comedy drama Marriage Battle and the 2010 movie Love in Cosmo, where she played a fashion magazine editor based on Cosmopolitan editor Anna Wintour. She was recently approached about reviving her acting career with a role in a movie based on the Chinese reality TV show Metamorphosis, where children from wealthy backgrounds swap homes with those in poorer areas and vice versa. Ma, who is divorced, lives with her 12-year-old daughter, Lang Ma Qin Ge, who attends the primary school attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
Ma, whose clients have included football star David Beckham and musician Quincy Jones, says the Chinese fashion industry has made huge strides in the past two decades.
Former supermodel Ma Yanli will launch her new clothing range that combines the simple look of a white blouse with blue jeans. The two worlds, which rarely interacted with each other a few years ago, are now integrating seamlessly. Leading the trend is American wearable technology company Misfit, which recently held a fashion show in Beijing, showcasing its latest product Ray, a wrist fitness and sleep monitor.
The company was recently acquired by Fossil Group, which makes watches for brands like Michael Kors, Diesel, Adidas, Karl Lagerfeld and Burberry. While wearable devices have been in the market for a few years now, Vu says people are now expecting more things from them - like good design, fashion elements, customizability and the ability to remotely control things.
While wearable technology is now mainly focused on tracking and notification, Vu says that in the coming years it will blend more invisibly into people's lives. And Ray, priced from about 800 yuan ($123), is now being sold in China through online retailers JD and Tmall, and Apple's physical stores. Luxury writing instrument brand Montblanc recently held its Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Awards ceremony in Venice. The Beijing Caishikou Department Store recently held a jewelry exhibition called Reflection on the Author showcasing 30 pieces of fine jewelry made by Italian designers. His fame may be built on his work with Gordon Ramsay and his regular appearances on TV cooking shows, but after declaring independence in 2010 from his longtime mentor, Jason Atherton has now made up his mind to make a break with television, too. The Michelin-starred chef was in Shanghai to celebrate the sixth anniversary of Table No 1, his first independent dining venture after leaving Ramsay, and the third birthday of Commune Social, a tapas venue that is his second outpost in Shanghai.
The Sheffield "donkey boy", as he is often called back in his home country because of his teenage part-time job helping his mother sell donkey rides, found his gift at 13. Once while traveling with his wife and eating at a restaurant in the Philippines, he could sense that the food was cooked by a very old chef by simply tasting it. Having such a palate himself may have helped him become a king in the kitchen, but he credits an unstoppable pursuit of perfection - one of the biggest lessons he learned from Ramsay - for driving the growth of his own restaurant empire. Other chefs he admires include Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, and any chef who "turns the industry upside down". These days Atherton says he is busier than ever, working long hours but spending as much time as possible in the kitchen. The food scene in Shanghai is really strong, he says, "but you can't just come here, make loads of money and then leave again.
While restaurants opened by Michelin-starred chefs have been mushrooming in Shanghai over the past few years, Atherton believes making his mark and staying true to it is essential for sustainability in the market. There is nothing he would like to change for his two culinary satellites in Shanghai - but his two head chefs there, Scott Melvin and Christopher Pitts, are free to shake things up at least once a week, and they do.
You may have seen his face today, grinning from the sides of Beijing delivery scooters, shopping centers and subway stations.
Launched in 2012, the company now operates more than 30 restaurants in Beijing and about 10 in Shanghai, with plans to jump abroad for the first time this summer with a restaurant in Sydney.
It was a Chinese entrepreneur groomed at Google and Baidu, 33-year-old He Chang, who saw potential innovation in the popular street food. From the simple jianbing, He and his team quickly branched out into other quick-to-make fare. They also see themselves as part of an international world, an international mindset, he says. In July 2014, he says while flipping through PowerPoint graphs, the company delivered 1,154 orders.
The delivery drivers in bumblebee-colored uniforms are paid by the order, says Torres, "so they have an incentive to deliver on time".
American Jeff Torres makes jianbing at a kitchen of Huangtaiji, a food chain built on the humble egg pancake.
Every Wednesday in May, The Hatchery will be screening an episode of the critically acclaimed television series Chef's Table, by David Gelb, the filmmaker behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi. A flower-based banquet theme shapes this year's Yunnan Food Festival at the Minzu Hotel through May 20. The young adult suffers from autism, which is a complex brain development disorder that leads to difficulties in social interactions, among other issues. He arrived at Mingzhi Zhi Jia (home for the wise), a private rehabilitation center for autistic people, in Northeast China's Jilin province, seven years ago. Wang Liying, founder of Mingzhi Zhi Jia, says her center aims to help young people with autism lead as normal a life as possible by enhancing their social skills and lowering emotional barriers.
The center provides help to autistic children, teenagers and young adults through counseling, therapies, education and professional training. Wang's concern for autistic people emerged after she attended a charity program in 2006 while working for Shell China in Beijing. Then, she got a chance to deepen her understanding of patients and found that most rehabilitation facilities in China targeted preschool children. According to the China Disabled Person's Federation, a government association, some 135 public-funded institutes for autistic children took in around 55,000 patients from 2011 to 2014. Private-owned rehabilitation units collaborating with the federation now exceed 1,000, Jia Meixiang, an autism expert from Peking University Sixth Hospital, recently told Beijing-based Oriental Outlook magazine. Last year, the Jilin City Disabled Person's Federation helped about 140 autistic children younger than 6. Mingzhi Zhi Jia got government subsidies last year with 54 students meeting the criteria meaning the center received 540,000 yuan from the government. Wang has poured about 16 million yuan into the institution's daily requirements and maintenance in the past seven years. The underfunding issue was brought into focus by a National People's Congress deputy from Jilin during the two sessions in Beijing in early March. Taking challenges head on in 2015, Wang set up a new company that provides data for agricultural use to cover the costs of her institution. Staff members and youngsters play a game in Mingzhi Zhi Jia, a private rehabilitation center for autistic people in Jilin city.
Guo, 40, works at the Maternity and Child Care Center of Xinyu, and has nearly 20 years of experience in obstetrics. She went on a Chinese medical aid program to Tunisia in November 2014, but was diagnosed with breast cancer in January this year after she returned home for a holiday. Today, as she stays hospitalized for treatment in Nanchang, the capital city of Jiangxi, she is keen to return to Tunisia to finish the program. Zhang Yue, director of international cooperation for the province's health and family planning commission, says Guo had volunteered to join the program in Tunisia. Since 1973, the province, like many other Chinese provinces, has been sending medical professionals to treat patients at local hospitals and provide training to doctors there.
Usually, more than 40 doctors and nurses from Jiangxi are selected to go to Tunisia and Chad every two years, but it is getting difficult to recruit team members, says Zhang. That is mostly because when a doctor comes back from such a mission in Africa, he or she will very likely lag behind colleagues at home, due to the fast development of China's medical sector. As people's standard of living improves in China, the allowance and payment such projects give to team members are not as appealing as they used to be, he says. During her work at a provincial hospital in Tunisia, she performed up to a dozen surgeries in a day as the department of obstetrics and gynecology there is really busy, Guo says. Last July, she noticed a lump in her left breast, which grew larger by October, but she didn't pay much attention.
Xiong Qiuyun, a cancer specialist with the Third Hospital of Nanchang and Guo's doctor, says he is sorry that she didn't seek medical treatment earlier.
Guo had surgery soon after the diagnosis, which was successful, but she then asked to leave the hospital before completing a chemotherapy session. According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, since 1963, China has sent about 24,000 medical professionals to 66 countries and regions to help, including 42 countries and regions in Africa, and millions of people abroad have benefited from China's international medical aid program. Guo Luping, an obstetrician, says she's proud to be part of a Chinese medical aid program in Tunisia. The history of the Caribbean is one of migrations and with that came a fusion of cultures, traditions and flavors.
The event was part of the China-Latin America and Caribbean 2016 Year of Culture Exchange, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Brasilia with regional leaders in July 2014. Michael Hinds, an award-winning Michelin-starred chef, and Paul Griffith, a celebrity chef in Hollywood, were the Caribbean chefs behind the festival. Griffith says the event was "a good opportunity for people in China to taste Caribbean food, because obviously not a lot of (Chinese) people go to the Caribbean. The region's fare is based on the lifestyle of workers on sugar plantations, where people tended to eat a lot of "heavy food" that would give them energy, such as sweet potatoes and yams. While Chinese food uses stir-frying a lot, Caribbean cooks favor shallow-frying, he adds, noting that both cuisines embrace fresh ingredients, use a lot of herbs and spices, and generally do not overcook vegetables. The China - Latin America and Caribbean 2016 Year of Culture Exchange, which features a series of activities including music festival, food festival, film festival and exhibitions will run till July. Hers is one of many Thai families looking after elderly relatives at a cost that countrywide adds up to just under a third of household income.
The number of families facing similar problems will balloon as the population ages at a rate among the fastest in Southeast Asia.
The rising cost of care is an additional burden to households struggling with record debt that is a drag on consumption and stunting the economy. Looking after her father costs at least 15,000 baht ($430) a month, she says, a little less than half what she earns. A culture of filial piety in which families feel obliged to care for their elderly means more often than not they absorb the expense of looking after parents and grandparents. A poor savings culture has left many people ill-prepared to help themselves financially in old age, meaning they must rely on working family members. More than a quarter of the 66 million population has not saved for old age, according to a 2014 survey, one of many factors contributing to the government considering raising the age of retirement from 60 and urging businesses to hire more older people. Households caring for elderly relatives spend at least 7,620 baht on them per month, according to the Health Insurance System Research Office, a state agency under the Ministry of Public Health. Kangsadan Sagulpongmalee, 40, is a lecturer in Petchaburi province who is caring for her 70-year-old diabetic father.
Kangsadan plans to move her father to a house near her workplace once he has recovered so she can look after him. A lower cost of living in Thailand's rural areas means some who had moved to the city for work are considering going back to care for parents.
With two Oscar-nominated films and a hit animation movie in China under his belt, Mark Osborne can easily stay in his comfort zone.
Mark Osborne, director of Kung Fu Panda and The Little Prince, gives a speech at the recently concluded 12th China International Cartoon & Animation Festival in Hangzhou. He wants to create "something new and different", he tells China Daily during a recent visit to Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang province. Osborne was there with Disney Animation Studios' president Andrew Millstein and Oriental DreamWorks' chief creative officer Melissa Cobb, to give a class to Chinese animation film professionals at the just-ended 12th China International Cartoon & Animation Festival. Chinese fans first encountered the 45-year-old director and writer through the 2008 smash hit Kung Fu Panda, which was the first animation film to earn more than 180 million yuan ($27.7 million) in China, and top the animation box-office charts that year.
Osborne says DreamWorks Pictures' story creators watched Chinese martial arts blockbusters Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero to develop panda Po's kung fu skills. He was in the news again last year for the French animation film The Little Prince, which received critical acclaim for its use of stop-motion and CGI (computer generated imagery). The movie, adapted from French writer and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery's namesake novella, was released in the Chinese mainland in October. Osborne says when he first saw stop-motion film shooting as an animation student in California in the early 1990s, he was fascinated by the technique and thought it was magical.
Stop motion is an animation technique that manipulates a puppet or object to make it look like it is moving on its own. Besides The Little Prince - which recreates the title role's fantasy universe through stop motion - Osborne's More is also made purely by stop-motion.

The 1998 short film, which centers on a young inventor's encounter with capitalism, was screened at more than 150 film festivals across the world and gained an Oscar nomination for best animation short in 1999. While most of the present-day, big-budget animation movies are made using computers, stop-motion is a somewhat old-school option. Among the 57 animation films released in the Chinese mainland in 2015, only the British feature Shaun the Sheep Movie is a stop-motion flick. But Osborne is apparently the kind of filmmaker who insists on following his heart, regardless of whether it is the latest trend. Osborne also says hard work is the best way for an animator to polish his skills, and he suggests that Chinese animators who have struggled for a long time with criticism over the quality of their work should do more than just improve visual effects. Interestingly, he says despite commercial success and festival-circuit honors, he is always discovering mistakes in his films.
Osborne says his latest project is a no-dialogue musical piece, which may become a sole feature or a series. Since the success of Kung Fu Panda and The Little Prince in China, the world's second-largest movie market since 2012, Osborne frequently hears that Chinese filmmakers want to be a part of his movies. Wu, 74, died of a heart attack in Beijing on March 4, 2014, just a month after he finished Song of Phoenix. The film revolves around an elderly suona (double-reed horn) performer's aim to pass on the art form amid its falling popularity in modern China. Veteran directors Tsui Hark (second left) and Huang Jianxin (center), alongside Song of Phoenix's lead actor Tao Zeru (second right), promote the late filmmaker Wu Tianming's final feature in Beijing. He was a man who stood up for his belief in freedom, freedom of expression and great human freedom, says the Hollywood icon. Wu's name may not be well known to younger Chinese viewers, but he is widely hailed as one of the most influential and significant figures in Chinese cinema.
The former head of Xi'an Film Studio was instrumental in encouraging directors like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige after he took the position in 1983. His studio reforms, which cut red tape, helped young filmmakers of that time to flourish and thrive. In 1987, Zhang ran out of money while shooting his directorial debut Red Sorghum - which became the first Asian film to win a Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1988. Seen as the "godfather" of China's fifth-generation directors, including Zhang and Chen, Wu is also noted for his in-depth look at China's rural life.
Typical of the characters in his films, Wu stood out as a guardian of tradition who refused to sacrifice his art to cater to the box office. Veteran director Huang Jianxin, who was among those supported by Wu in the mid-1980s, says: "Song of Phoenix mirrors Wu's struggles in real life, his persistence and his seriousness when speaking up for China's traditional arts.
Hong Kong veteran Tsui Hark said Xu was "a brave and serious man who devoted his life to the Chinese film industry". He made the comment at a recent event in Beijing, where he was with Huang to promote Wu's last movie. Jia Zhangke, a pioneering art-house director, says Wu's films were simple and effective, displaying his deft narration and editing skills.
Several previews of Song of Phoenix have been held in Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai recently and the movie has received acclaim from both viewers and critics. But industry sources are concerned that the art-house film may be squeezed to a small number of screens by its powerful rival Captain America: Civil War. The biggest blockbuster in Marvel's cinematic universe will open in China on the same day as Wu's film.
The dialogue was in reference to Cai's often "What about it?" barbs at contemporary Chinese art, for what he calls the lack of innovation. In 2008, his "fireworks of giant feet" at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics thrilled many. Cai's gunpowder drawing Homeland sold for 15 million yuan ($2.38 million) at a Christie's auction in Shanghai in 2013.
While the Chinese art market has boomed since 2006, there is still a lot that artists can do in terms of their contributions to the art world, he says.
Cai was in Beijing in April to talk about the exhibition he has organized for the Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha - What About the Art?: Contemporary Art from China. In recent years, many artistic works from China have set records at auctions and the art market in China is doing well, he says. To find the answers, Cai and his team chose 14 Chinese artists and one artist-collaborative duo from more than 200 through a three-year process.
The conversations with individual artists, together with Cai's discussions with curators and scholars from home and abroad, are part of a 500-page book by the same name as the Doha exhibition title.
What About the Art?: Contemporary Art from China was published by Guangxi Normal University Press in March.
Group exhibitions of Chinese art in recent years have presented different artistic forms: sculptures, painting, performance art and films, but that doesn't mean diversification of attitudes toward art or unique presentation skills in works, he says.
In the book, Cai introduced artist Li Liao, who used installation art to express his state of mind after his wife's affair came to light. He gives an example of Chinese calligraphy to show that artists in ancient times paid great attention to form. Another problem with contemporary Chinese art is that artists talk more about methods rather than methodology, the method of methods, the most fundamental question in art, Cai says. He applauds an artist's free spirit, warning that artists should avoid becoming "zoo creatures", and this might be why he chose to start the book with farmer-turned-artist Hu Zhijun, who became interested in sculpture in 2013 at the age of 61. The iconic artists have been confirmed for the Oct 7-9 concert at the Empire Polo field in Indio, in the California desert, an event being billed by music lovers as one of the greatest concerts ever. Tickets for the event, which go on sale on Monday, will range from $199 to $1,599, concert promoter Goldenvoice says. Concert organizers say Dylan and the Stones would launch the concert on Oct 7, Young and McCartney would perform on Oct 8, and the Who and Waters will close the three-day event on Oct 9. The festival could mark a final appearance for The Who, whose members have hinted at imminent retirement.
The group was scheduled to end their tour in May, but have already added June dates to appear at festivals in Europe. As a teenage actor of Zhe-jiang Kunqu Opera Troupe, he made his first trip from the country's east to Beijing along with the troupe's other performers, including Kunqu Opera veterans Zhou Chuanying and Wang Chuansong.
With its roots in Suzhou, in East China's Jiangsu province, Kunqu is among the country's earliest operas. Fifteen Strings of Coins tells the story of a respected legal figure in ancient China, who corrects a previously misjudged murder case.
Staged dozens of times in the city, it was attended by top leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and some 70,000 people during a 20-day stay.
The troupe also toured other parts of the country with nearly 100 shows viewed by another 140,000 people that year. Zhang was an apprentice of Zhou, who, along with five other Kunqu masters, remade Fifteen Strings of Coins in 1955 and established Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe the following year. To celebrate the contemporary show's 60th year, Fifteen Strings of Coins will return to Beijing on May 12.
Artists from the three troupes have "witnessed history in the making" with the recreation of the Kunqu masterpiece, says Zhang. In 2001, UNESCO listed it as a major masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Kunqu has also influenced other Chinese musical theaters, including its more famous cousin, Peking Opera. According to Zhang, before the 1956 debut of Fifteen Strings of Coins in Beijing, Kunqu struggled to survive with a shrinking market and very few artists. Since 1956, seven Kunqu Opera troupes have been established in the country and young performers have joined the Zhejiang troupe to learn from seasoned actors and actresses. Liu Yilong, 73, and Ji Zhenhua, 76, both masters from Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, were among those who trained at the Zhejiang troupe.
According to Gu Haohao, director of the Shanghai troupe, the two artists rarely perform these days. Fifteen Strings of Coins has been performed more than 1,500 times in the past six decades by different Chinese troupes, she says.
The youngest performer in the new production is 14-year-old Zhang Tangxiao, who is a fifth generation actor from the Zhejiang troupe. At the second anniversary of the opening of DrumTower West Theater, Zhuo Bieling, a female writer and critic, recounted an anecdote about the time when her friend Li Yangduo gave her a screenplay. The project turned out to be Black Coal, Thin Ice, which won the Golden Bear at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival. Li is the money and mastermind behind DrumTower West Theater, a 240-to-290-seat venue that used to be a derelict rehearsal hall for a State-owned performing arts organization. Of the many such "small theaters" in the theatrically vibrant city of Beijing, hers is not the best located. For about seven years, Li was a Guangzhou-based producer and distributor of television dramas and TV movies. Her first significant exposure to theater was Stan Lai's The Village, a 3.5-hour epic about the mainland diaspora in Taiwan. Six years ago, Li moved north to Beijing, unarguably the epicenter of China's theater creativity. She picked Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman as the opening salvo, directed by Zhou Ke, a promising talent with a flair for staging uncompromising fare. Since then, theater lovers have been arriving in droves, sometimes as early as the afternoon, where the adjacent cafe, Empty Cup Coffee, offers a bohemian environment for idle chat on the serious art of drama, surrounded by rows of books and wall-to-wall posters of the performing arts.
The DrumTower West Theater, tucked away in a traditional alleyway, has become a favorite hangout for the city's young, hip and theatrically aspiring. Meanwhile, Li attributes her choice of repertory style to a later offering, How I Learned to Drive. For her production of The Censor, a 1997 British play, to mark the theater's two-year anniversary, Li has turned to crowd sourcing. Ten of her friends joined in, including many media professionals who are fans of theater and her venue in particular. Chinese theater goers are accustomed to big-house shows that run for a couple of nights, but for an extended run that lasts 20-30 days she needs people who can spread the word to a larger clientele base.
Unlike some in theater circles, Li does not complain about the proliferation of lowbrow comedies on the Chinese stage. In fact, Li is contemplating a new lineup of comedies to add to her existing, mostly dark works. Li is thinking of plays like The Housekeeper by American playwright James Prideaux, which centers on a writer and his new acid-tongued housekeeper, and builds towards a hilarious crescendo.
She says her house broke even by the end of 2015 when her initial investment was amortized, but each production takes 40-50 performances to recoup its cost. The 2004 winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play is about a writer who depicts violence against children, and is suspected to be involved in one case. This obscure one-act play, an early work by the American pioneer in the art of drama brought home its relevance to contemporary Chinese society, especially the notion of family as the societal core. This perennial favorite in modern Chinese dramatic literature was given a new spin by Swedish director Mathias Lafolie, who approached the familiar tale as a discourse on morality and relationships. This black comedy, which won four Tony awards, portrays the acidic relationship between an ageing matriarch and her spinster daughter, something rare for the Chinese stage. This 1998 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama is based on an avuncular character and his influence on the coming of age of a teenage girl. This story of a female filmmaker of pornographic art and a middle-aged bureaucrat is so titillating that it could well lead to ratings for theatrical productions.
Directed by Mou Sen, an early practitioner in Chinese avant-garde theater, this is a French tale of a charity event gone awry, and illuminates a chasm between the haves and have-nots that defies political categorization. A winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for drama, this extremely dark tale about a mother and her suicidal daughter is a serious look at the abyss of existential anxiety.
The 2002 recipient of the Tony Award for best play touches on the taboo issue of bestiality in a well-respected middle-class family.
Guo, 48, who started playing the erhu as a 4-year-old in Shenyang, an industrial city in Northeast China's Liaoning province, has so far released over 40 albums as a soloist and a band member in a variety of music genres, such as rock, jazz and classical music.
He has also taken the unfamiliar sounds of the ancient Chinese instrument to nearly 2,000 concerts worldwide, working with hundreds of international musicians, including French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood and Chinese pianist Lang Lang. On April 25, Guo, who moved to Paris in 2000, was named a Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters by Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, the French ambassador to China. The honor, which was created in 1957, has been given to other Chinese artists, including actress Zhang Ziyi and film director Feng Xiaogang. Trained by his father, Guo Junming (1940-2010), an erhu musician and educator, Guo Gan says that learning to play the erhu is a family tradition.
Besides the erhu, Guo also plays Western instruments, such as the violin, the cello and the piano. By the time Guo graduated from the Shenyang Music Conservatory with a bachelor's degree in percussion performance in 1991, pop and rock music had started to blossom in China. So, when he taught erhu and percussion at the Liaoning Music Conservatory from 1994-99, he founded his own jazz and rock bands. In 2000, Guo went to France to study percussion at the National Music School in Paris, where he founded another jazz band, Dragon Jazz, which won the second prize at a European Chinese music competition in Belgium in December 2002. But despite these successes, he says that there was a time when he tried to escape from the erhu.
After arriving in Europe, Guo began performing at events held by overseas Chinese communities as he struggled to make ends meet like many foreign students. His first break came in 2002, when he was invited to record music for the movie L'idole by composer Gabriel Yared, who won an Oscar and a Grammy Award for his work on The English Patient.
He also made a guest appearance as a soloist at the opening ceremony of the Cannes film festival in 2002. In 2005, Chinese director Zhang Yimou invited him to play a series of concerts for the promotion of the film, The House of Flying Daggers, in Europe.

While his pianist wife and two children live in Paris, Guo says that he plans to have more shows in China and work with Chinese musicians. This dual personality is presented at the Ninth Horticultural Exposition of Jiangsu Province that ends on May 10. The feel that today's visitors are actually taking a stroll through an ancient scroll is no accident.
The setting unfolds like the scenes artists render of Jiangnan, the region south of the Yangtze River celebrated for being as well manicured botanically as what could be expected of China's Eden. The settlement is also the ground from which Wu culture, a vital component of contemporary Chinese society, took root over 10,000 years ago.
That legacy lives on in the city's Wuzhong district as classical gardens and water towns flourish to the soundtrack of Kunqu Opera and pingtan (Suzhou ballads). An exhibition at the event separate from botany showcases 70 places in Suzhou acclaimed for intangible cultural heritage.
The horticulture exhibition should remain true to real life after the show since the venue will be used as a public park or resort once the expo is done, organizers hope. The country's breakneck development necessitates a fusion of modern architecture into gardening traditions to conjure cities with cultural foundations, he says. The central government has introduced policies to encourage cities and regions to add more horticultural components into urban life. Suzhou was where China adopted its first national standards for what constitutes a horticultural city in 1992. It could, perhaps, even be like walking through ancient Chinese paintings, the brushstrokes of which are actual flora rendered across urban landscapes today - and tomorrow. Gardens and pavilions revealing the biodiversity of Suzhou draw visitors during the Ninth Horticultural Exposition of Jiangsu Province that runs throught May 10. Canada's tourism authority has partnered with Hainan Airlines to offer the flight three times a week from June 30 and four times a week from November. The airport handles 250 daily flights to more than 80 destinations, enabling tourists to easily travel to other destinations in the province and country.
A program has been launched to make the terminal user-friendly for Chinese through such amenities as Chinese-language signage and information, Poirier says. Roughly 59,000 Chinese arrived in or departed from Alberta in 2013, says the provincial tourism authority's CEO, Royce Chwin.
Western Alberta is flanked by the Rocky Mountains, while expansive prairies cover the east. Routes cover cities, national parks and other sites of interest across Calgary, Edmonton, the Canadian Rockies, the Canadian Badlands and southern Alberta.
Hainan Airlines is working with travel agencies to promote diverse travel products to show the beauty of Alberta and the passion of its cowboys, says Hainan Airlines' senior director, Jason Liu.
Calgary now serves as a stopover for Chinese visitors to national parks, says Li Mengran, publicity manager of major outbound-travel operator Beijing Utour International Travel Service Co. The city has evolved exponentially over the past few years, says Tourism Calgary CEO, Cindy Ady. Calgary has also developed new pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods that offer walking tours featuring such new culinary experiences as East Village.
Canada's first Nordstrom's opened at its Chinook Center two years ago, and Cross Iron Mills hosts a huge outlet mall. Heritage Park is Canada's largest living historical village, and the Calgary Zoo is celebrated as one of the country's best. The Calgary Stampede - a rodeo and festival acclaimed as "the greatest outdoor show on Earth" - runs every July. Calgary is uniquely positioned within driving distance of four World Heritage sites - the Rocky Mountains, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.
Indeed, these destinations seem poised to embrace new waves of Chinese visitors as the new direct flights enhance ease of entry. Of course, designers reflect their personal influences and some of these may involve Chinese characteristics, but this is not what it should be about," she says.
She is the daughter of a middle school head teacher, although most of her wider family is into farming. We want to make products that are indistinguishable from jewelry," says Sonny Vu, co-founder of Misfit, who is also president and chief technology officer of Connected Devices at Fossil Group. Founded a year ago, Soiree is an internet-based fashion label that focuses on little black dresses. That's when he "fancied a girl" at school and decided to win her heart through her stomach, though he won't say what food he prepared for this precocious wooing. The dishes were so great yet so simple, he told himself, that this man has to be cooking for a very long period of time. Atherton's The Social Company now boasts 17 outlets worldwide and annual revenues equal to 170 million yuan ($26 million). But I run it in my kitchen," he says, adding that he prefers to wear his chef's jacket whenever he's working - even at financial meetings, talks with CEOs and interviews.
Don't expect a third one yet for Shanghai, but among his hot pot of ideas he is thinking about a fun and funky Japanese restaurant for the city. The market is too sophisticated for that." He compares Shanghai with places like Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong, where he also runs restaurants. The goal is to make the restaurants "relevant to the marketplace", which Atherton sees as critical. The 30-year-old is the public face of Huangtaiji, a food empire built on the humble egg pancake. With individual orders totaling as little as about 35 yuan ($5.37), the company was generating more than 6 million yuan in sales per month by December 2015.
The second brand in the Huangtaiji family is Niu Dun, with a menu of stews and similar dishes. That's one reason the frontman for the company is not the more richly credentialed He, but Geoff the laowai - a former English teacher with the gumption not only to sell egg pancakes to Chinese but to teach Chinese how to make them. Huangtaiji mobilized about 1,000 drivers on scooters last year as well as a few black-and-yellow Mini Coopers that serviced catered events.
Later this month, for example, he hopes to be driving for Uber in a new promotion, ready to throw in a lunch deal with his rides. Starting at 8:30 pm, a favorite episode will be shown on the big screen with surround sound.
A chef from the province will use seasonal ingredients including fresh flowers and plants from Yunnan, such as camellia, jasmine, azalea and bamboo. The frustrations related to his disorder often got the better of him - he used to smash things.
Wang's academic background in industry management helped her create Mingzhi Zhi Jia in 2009, when she quit her well-paid communications job at Shell and went back to her hometown, Jilin.
According to a 2014 report by the Chinese Society of Education, China's largest academic organization for the sector, it is estimated that the country has more than 10 million autistic children, with roughly one-fifth under the age of 14.
We usually give the money to rehab centers," says Yang Lingyun, deputy director of the organization. In his motion submitted at the top annual political meetings, Guo Naishuo asked for enhanced financial support from the government for privately owned autism rehabilitation units so they may offer better training and education to children. She has also employed 11 students, like Sha Lin, who have finished their therapies and are being professional trained for jobs now. So I took it up," says Guo, who has conducted about 4,000 surgeries and has won several awards at the Xinyu hospital for her service to patients. There were too many patients and she was too busy to worry about "small problems", she recalls.
That's why Caribbean cuisine represents a rich fusion of cooking traditions and flavors of the indigenous peoples as well as centuries of migrants from Africa, India, China, Europe and the Middle East, according to organizers of last weekend's Caribbean Food and Cultural Festival in Beijing.
He underwent spinal surgery in December and is recovering at Wellness City, a privately run complex for the elderly near the city of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok.
It reminds me of my childhood," says Osborne, in a hotel near White Horse Lake in southeastern Hangzhou. The weakest part of a film is the craft and skill, and the strongest section is the story and the meaning," he says. He deserves to be not only remembered, but celebrated," says American director Martin Scorsese, in a video promoting the movie. Thanks to his selfless efforts, we could become part of China's golden era of cinema," adds Huang, who shot to fame with his 1985 film The Black Cannon Incident. It showcases a strong belief in Chinese culture and a sincere love of the country," Jia said in Shanghai earlier.
He used gunpowder to paint in his Projects for Extraterrestrials series (1989-2002) and to make social and political statements. A few years later, after his fireworks' performance in Paris, some 50 couples volunteered to engage in intimate scenes on the banks of the Seine.
The exhibition, running through July 16, examines ideas in Chinese modern art and whether they influence the global scene. If you see Chinese art today, you can barely tell which is whose work because the works tend to resemble one another," he says of what he describes as the lack of individual style.
It instructs people to investigate the shape and layout of the mountains to decide the best location for a coffin," he writes in the book. Customers are limited to buying a maximum of eight tickets for the festival, which is being called The Desert Trip. They were going to debut Fifteen Strings of Coins, a classic of the local opera, in the capital. Although I performed a small role in the show then, I couldn't fall asleep on the train to Beijing because I was too excited and nervous," he says. The production will gather generations of Kunqu artists from three established troupes - Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe, Suzhou Kunqu Opera Troupe and Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe.
Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe was the only known such troupe in China back then and is credited with saving the ancient art form with Fifteen Strings of Coins. But she has carved a niche with a repertory that can be called adventurous even in this city where new productions are in the hundreds every year. She later dipped her toes in this part of showbiz by becoming a local presenter for some of Lai's shows. Many were warm and uplifting, but I wanted something that was thought-provoking, something that shed light on the dark corners of humanity," Li tells China Daily. Not only was she fascinated by the work itself, with its subtle depiction of the suspicious relationship between an uncle and his teenage relative, but she enthused about Paula Vogel, the writer who came to Beijing and gave a mesmerizing lecture.
That is no small feat considering that some of the city's more established small houses have closed down in recent years.
I'm surrounded by friends who are more knowledgeable than I am in this field," says Li, who cautions against giving short shrift to today's theater patrons.
It became the breakout hit that pointed the way for the artistic aspirations of Li and her new house. However, for Chinese erhu player Guo Gan, the similarities between the two instruments don't end there. It recognizes those who have distinguished themselves through their work in the artistic or literary domain in France and the world. I am happy to see that the erhu, which is rarely appreciated in the West, can be used in so many different music styles," says Guo. After all, horticulture is both an art and a science.]]> An ongoing horticulture exhibition in a city celebrated for its gardens has roots in the past yet sows seeds for the future. Over 20 gardens and 12 pavilions reveal the biodiversity of Suzhou, a city synonymous with Chinese gardening. They include such themes as family travel, marathons, golf, shopping, summer outdoor adventure, winter wonderlands, skiing, photography, recreational-vehicle camping, train travel and road trips. Alberta doesn't have a provincial sales tax, making it an affordable shopping destination, Ady adds. The country's natural and cultural destinations anticipate waves of Chinese visitors as new direct flights enhance ease of entry. So it's a good match," he says, adding that the brand will be even more fashion focused in the future. One of the biggest local apparel companies, Eve is now building a bigger platform for new fashion brands with a focus on e-commerce, the company says.
This year's prize went to Giorgio Marconi for founding the non-profit Marconi Foundation for Contemporary and Modern Art. Enjoy the Pots & Pints special - 00 yuan for a pot of mussels with your choice of sauces plus house-baked bread and a beer - all while enjoying what promises to be serious food porn. Yunnan has a long history of cooking with flowers, which can be made into desserts and soup, or be pan-fried and mixed with other ingredients. They were willing to return because of the memories of working with the Zhejiang Kunqu Opera Troupe," says Gu.
But Zhuo threw it into a drawer and forgot about it.]]> Of the many such theaters in vibrant Beijing, Li Yangduo's is not the best located.
She is also considering national tours for some of her pieces and venturing into bigger and more commercially suitable works for larger venues. Classic traditional dishes available at lunch and dinner include steamed pot chicken, morel with wrinkled pepper, and wild broccoli with garlic. It made me realize that it's better to make something imperfect than something perfect," he says. But she has carved a niche with a repertory that can be called adventurous in this city where new productions are in the hundreds every year.

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