South Asia and Beyond

A Guide To Contemporary China

 A Guide To Contemporary China

Rural Museums Now Burgeoning Across China

Rural museums are sprouting in the vast countryside of China due to a “cultural museum fever” that has swept the country in recent years. Donghong village in Jianghai district, Jiangmen city, south China’s Guangdong province has a long history, and is home to over 600 residential buildings that were built more than 100 years ago. The 2.2-square-kilometer village has eight rural museums, which collect ancient artifacts to showcase local farming culture and traditional folk customs, such as rice pounders, fishing boats, spinning wheels, and kerosene lamps. Such artifacts are a witness to the village’s history and traditions. In Hangzhou, in east China’s Zhejiang province, there are three Hui Style architectures built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They belong to a museum that collects over 6,000 traditional pastry moulds. The museum was listed by authorities as one of the first rural museums in the province. An Laishun, vice president of the International Council of Museums and professor with Shanghai University said rural museums are a bond linking rural residents, as well as a platform driving the development of relevant sectors. The construction of such museums and relevant activities can make rural tourism more attractive, spur local economic development, and increase farmers’ incomes, thus boosting rural vitalization.

Source: People’s Daily

China’s Supporting Actors Want Jobs

China’s entertainment sector has been one of the biggest losers in the country’s war against COVID, as productions slowed and film theatres shut due to strict virus control measures. Box-office revenues were at an 11-year low in November, while the number of new releases was down by 38% compared with 2021 as of October. The biggest casualties of this are supporting actors. While some high-profile actors have capitalized on their fame and started doing livestream sales, lesser-known actors in supporting roles have ended up working as couriers, vegetable vendors, and farmers. Many of them say they earn one-third of their income today from TV and films as compared to pre-pandemic times and some are thinking of switching careers.

Source: Sixth Tone

Sci-Fi Web Novels Dominate China’s Online Literary Industry

Sci-fi web novels saw an uptick in quality in 2022 and has been booming over the past few years, according to a recent report about the Chinese online literature industry in 2022 from China Literature, a subsidiary of tech giant Tencent Holdings. The results of voting for the best web novels of 2022 on, a major Chinese online literature website, were revealed in the report. According to the rankings, five of the top 10 works featured sci-fi settings or elements, the report said. The amount of sci-fi works is not the only thing increasing in China, the number of writers in the genre has also been on the rise. The report noted that many popular writers dipped their toe into the waters of the genre on the platform in the first half of 2022, and the success of these works has encouraged more writers to try their hand.

Source: Global Times

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Chinese Woman Learns She’s Been Dead for Over a Decade

The Chinese government has been encouraging online memorials over the traditional ritual of burning joss paper or ghost money (believed to be transferred to one’s loved ones in the afterlife). However, the well-intentioned digital space also has its dark side, as Lulu from Xiamen, a port city on China’s southeastern coast, can tell you. In 2016, someone created a digital mourning hall for her, complete with her name, date of birth, hometown, and 10 personal photos from the internet. According to the post, she had disappeared shortly after leaving campus one night in January 2010, and her barely recognizable body was discovered in the sea several days later. Lulu understandably found the post extremely disturbing and was infuriated when she realized that it had been viewed around 43,000 times since it was created. The case recently went viral on the Chinese internet, with a related hashtag garnering more than 320 million views on Weibo, China’s top microblogging site.

Source: Radii China

Four More Restaurants Receive Michelin Stars In Beijing

The Michelin Guide Beijing 2023 selection was unveiled on Wednesday through an online ceremony, adding four one-star restaurants to the capital’s world-class dining scene. It highlighted two three-Michelin Star establishments, three two-Michelin Stars, 31 one-Michelin Stars, 19 Bib Gourmands as well as 53 Selected restaurants. Three hospitality talents received Michelin special awards, including the Michelin Sommelier Award, a recognition presented in Beijing for the first time. The two restaurants which were awarded three Stars in the last edition — vegetarian restaurant King’s Joy and Taizhou cuisine restaurant Xin Rong Ji (Xinyuan South Road) — will maintain the highest distinction for another year in the 2023 edition.

Source: China Daily

Ice And Snow Festival Opens In Beijing

The annual ice and snow festival has opened in Beijing with a series of activities launched. During this festival which si expected to last till February 2023, Beijing residents and tourists can enjoy winter games in more than 20 parks, including the Summer Palace, the Beihai Park, and the Olympic Forest Park. There are ice skating carts, ice slides and ice bikes among others in the rinks, while snow frisbees, snow parks and snow trains. Peng Qiang, director of the Park Management Office of Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau, said that in addition to the natural ice rinks, there are also artificial rinks built in parks this year.

Source: Xinhua