THE URBAN JUNGLE
“Beijing is predictably unpredictable.”
Humans of Peking is a website dedicated to collecting the portraits, quotes and short stories from the people living in China’s capital. Personal anecdotes and disarming portraits put a new perspective on Beijing’s inhabitants; capturing unique intimate moments in a rushed city of millions.
The city currently has over twenty million people inhabitants. The urban scenery is continuously changing. “Beijing is predictably unpredictable,” says Daisy Sun: “Buildings are erected as fast as they are demolished, businesses are opening and closing, people are coming and going. However, through all the hustle and bustle, you can still find that one small coffee shop or discover that one charming alley. Beijing is a city full of urban development, yet still holds on to and is filled with years of culture.” With Humans of Peking, Sun and Qi play with Beijing’s contradictions and versatility; spotlighting the individual within the masses of people. “There is already so much focus on everything that makes us different,” Katharina Qi explains: “whether it is in terms of sex, age, ethnicity, gender or religion. With Humans of Peking, we want to capture the moments that make us all human. It is a reminder that in this big city we are all really more alike than we are different.”
Humans of Peking does not discriminate. Sun and Qi go out of their way to interview all types of people – especially the ones they see on a daily basis, but hardly interact with, such as the security guard at work or the dry cleaner in the street: “There are so many people we pass by everyday without ever really connecting.”
BEIJINGERS WITH A MISSION
“People don’t come here for a relaxed lifestyle”
Sun and Qi approach people by simply chatting to them. “People aren’t really shy to talk about themselves, and they love to talk about their families. We only later ask them if we can feature them and make a picture. By the time we make the picture, the initial awkwardness is already over.”
A city with twenty million individuals, do they have anything in common? “People in Beijing have ambition,” Sun states: “So many of them are working towards something. Generally people don’t come to Beijing for a comfortable and relaxed lifestyle; they come because they’re driven. They’re here for personal growth or for setting up their businesses.” Now that housing prices have reached a new peak and the job market has become highly competitive, people struggle to make money, get a car, and buy a house, says Sun. Getting settled is important not just for individuals, but for their families too: “Family is always a priority within people’s lives here.” Instead of worrying about buying property, younger generations often come Beijing to follow their dreams.
“Step in the Right Direction”
It’s also what brought Sun and Qi to Beijing: dreams of living in the big city and curiosity about what Peking life was all about. Qi, who originally is from Henan Province, and Seattle-born Sun met each other in a hutong bar. They both had aspirations to start a website on the people of Beijing. Although they have busy jobs and both volunteer at TEDxBeijing and BarCamp Beijing, they keep their eyes open in order to never miss an opportunity when they’re roaming the streets as they could come across someone who is willing to give them a snapshot into their life. “We just love talking to people,” they say.
Humans of Peking went live earlier this January (2015). Sun and Qi are determined to turn the site into a success. “We’re doing this for fun, but our mission is to connect as many people as possible,” Qi says: “We hope people will stop and take a moment to realize how easy it can be to communicate and learn about one another.” Since they want to involve as many people as possible with their work, Humans of Peking offers stories both in Mandarin and English. Sun adds: “Currently, a significant amount of our ‘humans’ are locals, but we would like to hear more stories from foreigners as well, since Beijing is such a diverse city. Hopefully, our blog can also serve as a way for foreigners and locals to better understand each other.”
Sun and Qi are positive-minded: “If our work helps bring even just a few more people together, then that’s a step in the right direction.” It is their ambition, and they are driven. Of course; they’re Beijingers now.
– by Manya Koetse
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About the Author: Manya Koetse is the editor of What’s on Weibo. She’s a Sinologist who splits her time between the Netherlands and China. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in Literary Studies, Japanese & China Studies and completed her MPhil in Asian Studies. Contact: email@example.com, or follow on Twitter.
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These are the 100 Terms the Communist Party Wants You to Know for the 19th CPC National Congress
100 “must-know” terms for the 19th National Congress, propagated by People’s Daily.
It is the week of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), better known as the “19th Party Congress.” This meeting, that takes place from October 18 to October 24, is a major event that takes place every five years.
On Chinese social media, Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily (@人民日报) presented a vocabulary list for people to know before the huge political event.
During the 19th Party Congress approximately 2280 delegates from across the nation officially come together to select the party’s top leadership for the next five years. The event is also called a “celebration of decisions that have already been taken,” as the key points of the meeting have mostly already been settled behind closed doors.
It is these key decisions for China that will be discussed during the CPC National Congress and then officially announced, representing “new governance concepts, thoughts and strategies proposed by the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core” (Xinhua).
In a recent report by APCO Worldwide, Gary Li summarizes what to look out for during the 19th National Congress, writing that it is likely for President Xi Jinping to “consolidate his power further by making changes to the party apparatus,” influencing regulators in various sectors from finance to trade and cybersecurity.
Posting the 9-page list of a total of 100 terms on Weibo, People’s Daily (@人民日报) writes:
“Study time! We want to teach you the translation of 100 hot terms for the 19th CPC National Congress (..) Do you know how to say these things in English? This is how to avoid using Chinglish and to express [these terms] in a more authentic way. They are all useful for CET-4 & CET-6 [national English level tests in China] and other exams. Let’s learn these!”
By October 18, the list was shared 19000 times on Weibo and received many comments.
One netizen said: “With these 100 words you can understand a new China.” Others complained that they still think the English translation of these Chinese terms “sounds like Chinglish.”
Relevant Words: Policy Trends & Digital Focus
The vocabulary list, which was selected from China Daily‘s “Little Red Book of Hot Words” (热词红宝书), is an interesting combination of terms that says a lot about the focal points of the National Congress and the trends that are emphasized for the coming five years.
In the recent APCO report, Gary Li mentions Ideological Tightening as a crucial policy trend. This promotion of “Chinese values” is clearly visible in the vocabularly list, that includes terms such as “the Chinese Dream” (中国梦), “Stay true to the mission” (不忘初心), and “cultural confidence” (文化自信).
Another important policy trend on the government agenda is Anti-Corruption, which is represented by the term “anti-corruption TV series” (反腐剧).
The list also includes some Internet slang terms such as “give a like” (点赞) or “phubber”/”bowed head clan” (低头族), referring to people who constantly look down to their smartphone.
It also includes a catchphrase that became especially popular on Chinese social media in 2016 when it was used by Chinese swimming champion Fu Yuanhui during an interview about her winning medal during the Olympics – (“用了洪荒之力”), which can be translated as “I’ve used my primeval powers!”, basically meaning “to give one’s full play.”
The inclusion of some typical internet catchphrases is especially noteworthy because in 2014, Chinese state media published that programs and commercials should not use Internet language to preserve traditional expressions.
The entire list has a clear Digital Focus when it comes to different industries, including government, media, finance, and traveling, introducing words such as “in-flight Wifi services” (空中上网服务), “face scan payment” (扫脸支付), 5G era (5G时代), and taxi-hailing app (打车软件).
The list also includes words that emphasize the Belt and Road Initiative and China-centric Relations for Economy and Trade, such as the “New type of major-power relationship” (新型大国关系).
The List: 100 Hot Words for the 19th National Congress
This is the full list of the 100 terms as shared by the People’s Daily through screenshots, typed out by What’s on Weibo. The pinyin and tones are also provided by What’s on Weibo.
Bù wàng chūxīn
Stay true to the mission
Liǎng gè yībǎi nián
Two centenary goals
Zhōngguó zhìzào 2025
Made in China 2025
Double First-Class initiative
Zhōngguó tiānyǎn:500 Mǐ kǒujìng qiúmiàn shèdiàn wàngyuǎnjìng (FAST)
China’s Eye of Heaven: The 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope
J-20 Stealth Fighter
Domestically built aircraft carrier
Homemade passenger jet
Kěrán bīng shì cǎi
Sampling of combustible ice
Liàngzǐ wèixīng “mò zi hào”
Quantum satellite “Micius”
Běidǒu wèixīng dǎoháng xìtǒng
Beidou navigation system
Fēngyún sì hào A xīng wèixīng
Zhòngxíng yùnzài huǒjiàn
Heavy-lift Carrier Rocket
Hù gǎng tōng
Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect
Shēn gǎng tōng
Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect
Jīng jīn jì yītǐ huà
Xióng ān xīnqū
Xiong’an New Area
Zì mào shíyàn qū
Pilot Free Trade Zones
Gōngjǐ cè gǎigé
Sǎo liǎn zhīfù
Face scan payment
Èr wéi mǎ zhīfù
Two-dimensional barcode payment
Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank
Dī tàn chéngshì
Yī xiǎoshí tōng tōngqín quān
One-hour commuting circle
Lán sè jīngjì
Zòngxiàng héngxiàng jīngjì zhóu dài
North-south and east-west intersecting economic belts
Zhòng chuàng, zhòng bāo, zhòng fú, zhòng chóu
Crowd innovation， crowdsourcing，crowd support and crowdfunding.
Zhànlüè xìng xīnxīng chǎnyè
Emerging sectors of strategic importance
Xiānggǎng huíguī zǔguó 20 zhōunián
The 20th anniversary of Hong-Kong’s return to China
Give a like
Real name authentication
Targeted poverty reduction
Community of shared interests
Chéng jì lièchē
Belt and Road Initiative
“Sīchóu zhī lù jīngjì dài”
The Silk Road Economic Belt
21 Shìjì hǎishàng sīchóu zhī lù
21st- Century Maritime Silk Road
Gǔ sīchóu zhī lù
The Ancient Silk Road
Establish and Strengthen Partnerships/Connectivity
Xīnxíng dàguó guānxì
New type of major-power relationship
Kě tìdài néngyuán qìchē
Alternative energy vehicle
Kě zài rén wú rén jī
Kōngzhōng shàngwǎng fúwù
In-flight Wifi services
Hǎiwài gòu wài
Overseas shopping representative
Cross-border online shopping
Duō cì wǎngfǎn qiānzhèng
Multiple entry visa
Gēn tuán yóu
Wú xiànjīn zhīfù
Anti-corruption TV series
Dài jià fúwù yè
Designated driver business
Dān shuāng hào yínháng
Traffic restrictions based on even- and odd-numbered license plates
Lǜsè jīnróng gǎigé xīn shìyàn qū
Pilot zones for green finance reform and innovations
Chāo guómín dàiyù
Xiàndài yīyuàn guǎnlǐ zhìdù
Modern hospital management system
Jīyù zhī chéng
Cities of opportunities
Live stream economy
Hùliánwǎng +zhèngfǔ fúwù
Internet Plus government services
Chuàngxīn xíng zhèngfǔ
Wú rén jī jǐnjí jiùyuán duì
UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) emergency rescue team
Èr hái jīngjì
Fùqīn jià; péi chǎnjià
Dài xīn xiūjià
Yòngle hónghuāng zhī lì
Give one’s full play
Yíng gǎi zēng
Replace business tax with value-add tax (VAT）
Chuàngxīn xíng réncái
Jīfēn luòhù zhìdù
Points-based hukou system
Hùnhé suǒyǒuzhì gǎigé
Tax reduction and exemption
Shēngtài bǎohù hóngxiàn
Wǎng yuē chē
Yí jū chéngshì
Shuāng chuàng réncái
Innovative and entrepreneutrial talent
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Pet Hotels are Booming Business in Beijing
Chinese pet lovers are willing to pay up to 900 RMB (±136$) per night to give their pet a comfortable stay at one of Beijing’s ‘pet hotels’ (宠物酒店).
For loving pet owners, before heading out on a holiday, finding a trustworthy pet lodge is often just as important as finding a comfortable hotel for themselves. And nowadays, both should be booked as early as possible during a holiday season.
In Beijing, the booming business of pet lodging was especially noticeable during the Golden Week holiday. Various Chinese media reported that pet hotels in Beijing have become so popular that they were already fully booked a month before the holiday started.
This is also what Zhang Wen, a local pet lodge owner, told Beijing Youth Daily (@北京青年报). He and his colleagues are specialized in tending to every possible need of Beijing’s household pets while their families are taking a holiday.
Some pet hotels now charge as high as 900 RMB (±136$) per day to lodge a pet. The pet lodging business is quickly expanding across Beijing. Some local residents now also improvise lodging facilities in their private homes, asking approximately 30-50 RMB (±5-8$) per day.
With a growing demand for comfortable lodges for family pets, Beijing’s ‘pet hotels’ are increasingly competitive. Some offer private rooms for dogs and assign a member of staff for every pet to look after its diet, sanitation, cleaning, and exercise.
Some pet hotels are even equipped with sporting, beauty, bathing, and water purification facilities, resembling a five-star hotel. Non-traditional pets such as spiders and lizards are also welcome, as long as their owners clarify their routines in advance.
Criticism on luxurious pet hotels
On Weibo, the topic “Luxurious Pet Hotel Charges 900 RMB Per Day” (#豪华宠物酒店900一天#) received some 15 million views this October.
The news, which was first reported by Beijing Youth Daily, stirred discussions on social media. Although many people find the pet hotels cute or funny, there are also many who comment that this kind of extravagance for pets painfully points out the rich-poor divide in China.
“Dogs are living a better life than us humans now,” some said: “I can’t even stay at a hotel that is this expensive.”
One netizen sarcastically commented: “If you can’t afford housing in Beijing, just go and become a pet to someone here.”
Some even find the boom in luxurious pet hotels a worrying trend, saying “this will intensify the social conflicts.”
Besides the extravagant pet spoiling, there are also other reasons why netizens criticize the spread of fancy pet lodging. On social media, questions over epidemic issues are also surfacing.
Some companies that were interviewed by Chinese media failed to show any credentials for providing lodging services and had no in-house veterinary to offer health examinations for the pets taken in; China currently does not have a specific national legal framework nor corresponding regulatory measures for qualified pet lodgings.
By Qing Yan
Edited by Manya Koetse.
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