ZGBriefs

March 14, 2013

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FEATURED ARTICLE

The balinghou (aeonmagazine.com)

Food metaphors are telling older Chinese want to know: Why do they have it so easy, when we had it so hard? The main target of this slating has been what the Chinese call the balinghou young people who were born after 1980, who never knew food rationing and were raised after Chinas reform and opening began. Im talking here of the urban middle class, who dominate Chinese media both as purchasers and consumers. The raft of criticisms being levelled has very little to do with the actual failings of the young, but is a symptom of the yawning, and unprecedented gulf between young urban Chinese and their parents.

THE CHINA SEVEN: The Huge Megatrends That Will Define China's Next Decade (March 12, 2013, Business Insider)

For nearly two decades, we've counted on China to be the perpetual growth machine that would power the world's economy. But as many have observed, that era is slowly coming to an end. Jefferies recently published a massive 426-page report that boils down what we can expect in this next phase of China's development.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Xi Puts Money Down on Meaningful Reform (March 11, 2013, China Real Time)

With this past weekends shakeup of ministries and agencies, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping just put some important cards on the table. A leading commentary in the Monday edition of the Communist Party flagship Peoples Daily insists this new round of institutional reforms is not the usual administrative reshuffling, but an actual changing of what specific agencies will do (in Chinese). It also takes a swipe at the outgoing administration, suggesting the old leadership was less responsive to the needs of the people than many thought it should have been.

Shifting dynamics of control (May 11, 2013, The Analects)

It was bound to be a messy combination and, according to a new report on censorship in China, it is. The country has an estimated 600m internet users who are growing ever more accustomed to reading what they want and saying what they think. It also has a rigid one-party system, the leaders of which are ever more determined to keep at least a modicum of control over what may be read and said online.

China says willing to discuss cyber security with the U.S. (March 12, 2013, Reuters)

China offered on Tuesday to talk with the United States about cyber security amid an escalating war of words between the two sides on computer hacking, but suspicion is as deep in Beijing as it is in Washington about the accusations and counter-accusations. The world's two leading economies have been squaring off for months over the issue of cyber attacks, each accusing the other of hacking into sensitive government and corporate websites.

Xi Jinping can deliver, says political theorist (March 12, 2013, China Media Project)

Wu Jiaxiang, it should also be noted, is perhaps the most prominent intellectual heavyweight to have maintained in recent months the faith that Xi Jinping is indeed a reformer, and that bolder (but calculated) moves are in the offing once China gets through the National Peoples Congress now underway in Beijing. Wu is interviewed for the most recent edition of Hong Kongs Yazhou Zhoukan, and he remains solidly among the faithful. The following is a portion of his interview, which comes under the headline: I think Xi Jinping can deliver.

Graphics: China's new super ministries (March 12, 2013, Caixin Online)

Chinese Activist, Now in U.S., Says His Relatives Remain Under Surveillance (March 13, 2013, The New York Times)

Almost a year after the Chinese human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng made an audacious escape from detention in his home village, his family there remains under surveillance and his jailed nephew has said he was beaten and warned by officials not to challenge his conviction, Mr. Chen and his older brother say.

China's Drone Swarms Rise to Challenge US Power (March 13, 2013, LiveScience, via Yahoo!)

China is building one of the world's largest drone fleets aimed at expanding its military reach in the Pacific and swarming U.S. Navy carriers in the unlikely event of a war, according to a new report. The Chinese military known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) envisions its drone swarms scouting out battlefields, guiding missile strikes and overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers. China's military-industrial complex has created a wide array of homegrown drones to accomplish those goals over the past decade, according to the report released by the Project 2049 Institute on March 11.

Demise of China's unloved railways ministry (March 13, 2013, BBC)

On Monday, China's leaders announced the beleaguered Ministry of Railways would be spilt into two. The Ministry of Transportation will oversee the railways' administrative functions, while a private company will handle its commercial operations. Long derided as one of the most corrupt and inefficient wings of the Chinese government, news of the ministry's demise has been celebrated across China.

China says it will give nonprofits a greater role (March 13, 2013, AP)

China pledged Wednesday to allow charities, industry associations and other nonprofit groups to play a greater role in society in an acknowledgement of the growing importance of independent organizations that the authoritarian government traditionally has treated with suspicion. Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo said that as part of the Cabinet's recently announced restructuring plan, the government will expand the scope of functions it will let other groups fulfill. "Overall, from now on, the role that our country's social organizations will play in economic and social development will be expanded and strengthened," Li told a news conference on the sidelines of the annual legislative session in Beijing.

Chinas Xi Jinping charts a new PR course (March 13, 2013, Washington Post)

In his first few months as Chinas leader, Xi Jinping has moved aggressively to dismantle the Chinese publics long-standing image of officials as wooden robots full of empty speeches and corrupt motives. Instead, with a sophisticated public relations strategy, Xi and his top advisers have introduced something previously unseen among the higher echelons of Chinese government: a retail politician. They have employed modern tactics familiar to anyone who has endured a U.S. election driving the narrative, attacking government waste and casting Xi as a plainspoken, unadorned man of the people. The approach reflects a new reality confronting Chinas leaders in an age of social media and cellphones in which they no longer retain total control over the message. To adapt, experts say, they are trying to shape the news, in addition to often censoring it.

Chinese Ask: Is Latest Bureaucratic Reform in Name Only? (March 13, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

The alleged purposes of the reform are to streamline administrative processes, to transfer governance power to the market and society, and to increase administrative efficacy. But while the newly released bureau reorganization is necessary to achieve those goals, it is not on its own sufficient. [...] Its thus not surprising that Web users question what real difference the bureau downsizing would make.

Chinas Own Leadership Conclave: Time to Raise the Rubber Stamps (March 13, 2013, Time)

Despite the Chinese leaderships allergy to some Western political mores, the coverage of the CPPCC and NPC in Chinas state-controlled press over the past few days has borrowed heavily from democratic verbiage. Three Days, Nine Ballots: Details of State Leadership Elections went a March 13 headline from Xinhua, Chinas state-run newswire and government mouthpiece. From Thursday through Saturday, wrote Xinhua, almost 3,000 NPC delegates would be casting nine ballots to usher in a slew of new leaders, ranging from Chinas president and vice president to the countrys chief justice.

Xi assumes Chinas presidency, completing his rise to the top (March 14, 2013, Globe and Mail)

Chinas rubberstamp parliament confirmed Xi Jinping as president on Thursday, completing the 59-year-olds ascension to the pinnacle of power in the one-party state. Mr. Xi, who has been Secretary General of the Communist Party and head of the Peoples Liberation Army since November, was the only contender on the red ballots distributed to delegates of the National Peoples Congress. Mr. Xis nomination received 2,952 yes votes from the handpicked parliamentarians, one no, and three abstentions. [...] Mr. Xi is now fully Chinas paramount leader, the sixth man to hold all the countrys levers of power since the 1949 Communist revolution, following Mao Zedong, Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping (who actually never served as president), Jiang Zemin and Mr. Hu.

Video: Leaders in Beijing name Xi Jinping as president of China (March 14, 2013,Leaders in Beijing have confirmed Xi Jinping as president, completing China's 10-yearly transition of power. Mr Xi, appointed to the Communist Party's top post in November, replaces Hu Jintao, who is stepping down. Xi Jinping was the only name on the ballot paper and only one delegate voted against him.

RELIGION

Chinese Catholics pine for open-minded pope to heal rifts (March 3, 2013, CNN)

"We pray for the new pope," said Father Francis Zhang, a Beijing priest. "We hope he will be spiritual, dynamic and open minded. We hope he will be more open to China, more pragmatic, and someone who understands very well the Chinese Catholic church." In recent days, Father Zhang, the parish priest of the Yongning Catholic church in the northern suburbs of the capital, has been travelling to several Chinese cities, giving lectures to jam-packed audiences of priests, seminarians and laymen. "Sometimes the audience is as big as 4,000 people," he enthused. "I talk about religion and church management."

The Grand Opening of Chinas Largest Church (March 12, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

February 19, 2013 marked the beginning of a Week of Thanksgiving for the newly built church in Liushi Township, Yueqing District of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang Province. According to news reports, it is now Chinas largest church, with regular seating for 5,000 people. During Thanksgiving Week there will be 6000 to 8000 people in attendance. The cross on top of the church tops out at 63 meters. Wenzhou is one of the most gospel-saturated regions in China, and is sometimes referred to as The Jerusalem of China.

The Unseen Side of China's Internet Explosion (March 13, 2013, ChinaSource)

Of particular notebut often missed in discussions on China's burgeoning cyber universeis the scope and diversity of Christian content originating within China. Literally thousands of sites carrying a plethora of Christian content are being hosted in country. These include individual church sites, both registered and unregistered; online magazines; forums on various topics such as family life or childhood education; Christian publishers; curriculum providers; and several daily online Christian newspapers. Unless these sites post political content, they are generally left undisturbed by authorities. Thousands of other Christian individuals and groups utilize Weibo to carry on conversations, promote or comment on posted material, and announce upcoming activities.

Beijing Cautions New Pope on Meddling in China (March 14, 2013, The New York Times)

China congratulated Pope Francis on Thursday on his ascension to the papacy, but also warned the Vatican not to interfere in what China deems to be its internal affairs. [] Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that Beijing hopes the pope, who was elected on Wednesday, will work with Chinese officials on improving relations. But, she said, the Vatican must stop interfering in Chinas internal affairs, including in the name of religion. She also said the Vatican must sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan before ties with Beijing improve. China considers Taiwan a renegade province that is part of its territory.

SOCIETY / LIFE

China's Migrant Children (January 14, 2013, ChinaSource)

Governmental policies making it possible for migrant children to attend public schools often are not implemented. The result is many migrant children attend privately-run migrant schools with lower standards or do not receive schooling. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the situation.

Video: A Chinese journalist's inside view of censorship (March, 2013, Committee to Protect Journalists)

Journalist Liu Jianfeng worked in Chinas state-controlled media for nearly two decades. Eventually, frustration with the system and pressure from his colleagues prompted him to quit. He continues to report on public issues such as land grabs, and hopes to find a new model for investigative journalism in China.

Born Rich in China: Explaining the Disdain for Fuerdai (March 9, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

For a China still undergoing rapid economic development, a new and divisive character has emerged: the wealthy young scion. Children who come from money in China, colloquially called fuerdai, are often associated with many negative stereotypes. Fuerdai literally translates to rich second generation. Fuerdai are generally either guanerdai, meaning government official second generation; xingerdai, meaning super-star second generation; or hongerdai, children whose families have strong roots in the Communist Party and can eat from both plates.

Is China's one-child policy on the way out? (March 11, 2013, Marketplace)

China's government has announced plans to remove power from the agency that oversees the country's one-child policy. Observers say this could spell the beginning of the end for the rule.

The China middle class debate (March 11, 2013, The China Herald)

Two schools of thought exist in this China debate. One group sees the existence of a Chinese middle class as a no-brainer. While the Chinese middle class might be defined in different economic terms than the US middle class, some estimate it already to be as high as 600 million. A second school disputes that assumption; they say money can be made at the rich and ultra-rich in China, but the middle class is at best a very thin, too thin layer between those rich and the majority of relatively poor. And even worse: China's focus on improving minimum wages for the working class, and less at improving the position of the middle class.

The Last Resort: Chinas Growing Suicide Problem (March 12, 2013, World of Chinese)

By the time you get done reading this article at least one (and likely more than one) person in China will have killed themselves. Every two minutes a Chinese person takes their own life, and it is resulting in the largest suicide (, zsh) problem in the world. In fact 287,00 deaths a year are labeled suicide-related deaths, a whopping 3.6% of the annual deaths in all demographics. In China, 22.23 people out of every 100,000 commit suicide.This rate places the country among the countries with the highest suicide rates per capita on the planet (according to the AFP).

How Many People Really Use Sina Weibo? (March 12, 2013, China Real Time)

Chinas most beloved microblog, Sina Corp.s Weibo is often described as a virtual town square where Chinese people can publicly discuss issues from politics to pop stars with a level of freedom not available elsewhere in the country. If thats the case, a new study suggests the square isnt nearly as full as it might seem. The study, conducted by researchers at Hong Kong University, aimed to discover who was using Weibo by studying a random sample of roughly 30,000 users. Of those, 57% had no posts in the timeline, indicating either an inactive user or one of the so-called zombie accounts created by marketing firms to manipulate follower numbers for real accounts.

Watch: Life on the Up, short film about the window cleaners of the SWFC (March 12, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Director Stephen Wright, producer Isobel Yeung, and cameraman Liu Jia bring us this beautifully shot, poignant short film set in Shanghai. Life on the Up focuses on Cheng Jian Wen, one of the window cleaners who keep the Shanghai World Financial Centre sparkling.

Video: Words of a Generation (wordsofageneration.tumblr.com)

28 people from Chinas 70s generation on 7 topics

China hacker's angst opens a window onto cyber-espionage (March 12, 2013, Los Angeles Times)

For a 25-year-old computer whiz enlisted in a People's Liberation Army hacking unit, life was all about low pay, drudgery and social isolation. Nothing at all like the unkempt hackers of popular imagination, the young man wore a military uniform at work in Shanghai. He lived in a dorm where meals often consisted of instant ramen noodles. The workday ran from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., although hackers were often required to work late into the evening. With no money and little free time, he found solace on the Internet. He shopped, chatted with friends and courted a girlfriend. He watched movie and television shows. He drew particular inspiration from the Fox series "Prison Break," and borrowed its name for his blog.

Beijing subway overtakes Moscow as busiest (March 13, 2013, China Daily)

Beijing's subway lines have surpassed Moscow to become the world's busiest after a record 10.27 million passengers travelled on the city's rail transit network on Friday, Beijing Morning Post reported. Russia's subway lines used to handle the most passengers in the world, with a daily transportation of 8 to 9 million people. "We will see the number of 10 million often in the future," said Zhan Minghui, director of the capitals rail transportation command center. Four new subway lines went into operation on Dec 30, 2012 in Beijing, bringing the total track length to 442 kilometers and making it the country's longest subway network.

Video: China pulls nearly 6,000 dead pigs from Shanghai river (March 13, 2013, BBC)

Officials say the number of pig carcasses found in Shanghai's Huangpu River has risen to nearly 6,000. In a statement, Shanghai authorities said that 5,916 dead pigs had been removed from the river by Tuesday. But they said water from the river was safe, with water quality meeting government-set standards. It is believed that the pigs may have come from Jiaxing in the neighbouring Zhejiang province, although the cause of their deaths is still not clear.

Ignoring Lei Feng: Chinas Failed Revolutionary Biopics (March 13, 2013, Letter from China)

Amid the tropical palmetto scrub and banyan trees of Foshan, Lei Feng looked out of place in his military-issue fur-lined hat and heavy parka. The mismatch runs deeper, of course, and, last week, it became excruciatingly clear just how deep. The Chinese press reported that a trio of films about Lei Fengs lifeYouthful Days, The Sweet Smile, and Lei Feng in 1959landed like the proverbial tree in the woods. Some cinemas played the films to near-empty houses. They still kept it in the schedule in case anyone showed up, the Global Times reported, in a piece fairly headlined Despite Orders Lei Feng Films Bomb. Cinemas in such big cities as Nanjing and Taiyuan conceded to the New York Times that they had failed to sell even a single ticket.

Shanghai residents declare war on drunken expats (March 13, 2013, The Telegraph)

Furious locals "dumped water" on some 200 noisy foreigners who enjoying the nightlife on Yongkang Road, one of Shanghai's most popular bar streets, last weekend. A local government official told the Global Times newspaper they would now "force" the street's bars whose clients are largely European - to close by 10pm. Residents of the street in what expats call the "Former French Concession" have reportedly been complaining about noise pollution for at least a year.

On Lockdown: Scenes from a China-Japan Soccer Match (March 14, 2013, China Real Time)

Anyone curious to know how months of simmering diplomatic tensions between Japan and China are playing out in real life need only have dropped by Beijings Workers Stadium on Wednesday night to watch Beijings Guoan soccer club take on Sanfrecce Hiroshima in AFC Champions League group play. [] But the more stirring firepower stood outside the stadium walls, where columns of police and paramilitary soldiers outfitted with body armor and riot shields were lined up solemnly in front of troop transport vehicles, with other columns stationed along the road leading away from the stadium and in the nearby upscale Sanlitun Village shopping center.

Infographic: China's top 10 social media sites (March 14, 2013, Shanghaiist)

HEALTH

China's Healthcare Reforms: Addressing Discontent while Creating a Consumer Economy (March 7, 2013, National Bureau of Asian Research)

Market-oriented reforms in China that opened many industries to foreign investment and fueled spectacular economic growth have only relatively recently been extended to the countrys healthcare sector. Increasingly concerned about widespread dissatisfaction over quality of life despite the countrys rising GDP, Chinas leadership has taken a series of steps aimed at improving the accessibility, quality, and affordability of healthcare.

From One Hub, a View of Chinas Worldwide Underground Milk Powder Network (March 11, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Comprehensive statistics are impossible to gauge, but it is but it is very common to encounter Chinese people overseas who have been asked to send back milk powder to a friend or relative, or who know others that engage in this activity to make money. This is especially true in countries that are well known for their dairy products, such as New Zealand, Australia and European countries like Germany and Holland. No systematic research of these worldwide milk powder flows exists, but a map circulating on Hong Kong anti-mainland forums showing screenshots from media coverage of empty shelves around the world indicates the scale.

Was SARS fallout a lesson for China in global citizenship? (March 13, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

Ten years ago this week, the World Health Organization issued a global health alert its first-ever about the dangers of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS. In China, where the epidemic had originated, the government was still denying that anything was wrong. Officials were not telling their citizens anything and were lying to the WHO about the death toll. Eventually, medical professionals held SARS responsible for sickening 8,422 people worldwide and killing 916 of them.

BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / TRADE

China inflation rate hits 10-month high in February (March 11, 2013, BBC)

China's inflation rate hit a 10-month high in February, as Lunar New Year festivities drove up food prices. Consumer prices rose 3.2% from a year earlier, with food prices up by 6%. Inflation has been a hot political issue in China. There have been concerns that if consumer prices rise too much, it may prompt Beijing to tighten monetary policies, which in turn may hurt China's growth. However, analysts said the latest data was unlikely to prompt any such moves.

Signing And Chopping A China Contract. Its Complicated. (March 11, 2013, China Law Blog)

Stole the below from an email on which I was cced from one of my firms China lawyers setting forth who from a China SOE (State Owned Entity) should sign its China contract

.China Home Sales Surge, Tighter Property Rules Seen (March 12, 2013, Reuters, via CNBC)

China's home price inflation may be steeper than official data suggest, with a near quadrupling of home sales in the capital last week after the government unveiled tax plans to curb speculation, a sign that investors have giant gains to lock in. Pre-owned home sales in Beijing soared 280 percent year-on-year in the week of March 2-8, according to local government data, and were up 141 percent on the previous week. The government announced on March 1 plans to introduce a 20 percent capital gains tax and higher down payments for second-time home buyers to dampen expectations of more price rises.

TECHNOLOGY / SCIENCE / ENVIRONMENT

China's 80 billion disposable chopsticks a 'burden' on forests (March 11, 2013, South China Morning Post)

A National Peoples Congress member has highlighted the dire situation of China's deforestation during a parliamentary meeting, saying that the country produces as many as 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year, state news agency Xinhua reported. Bo Guangxin, chairman of state-owned timber firm Jilin Forest Industry, said at a meeting of the annual parliament session on Friday that the mass production of the wooden tableware is a heavy burden on national forests. Eighty billion pairs of chopsticks is no small figure.

China: A River of Pigs and 5 Other Environmental Nightmares (March 12, 2013, Time)

hinese officials are busy pulling thousands of pigs from Shanghai's main water source. Disgusting, yes. But hardly an isolated incident.

CULTURE / EDUCATION / HISTORY

Watch: Hebei students prep for college entrance exams with massive rally (March 11, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Brace yourself for the last 100 days before college entrance exams; the time of year when teens can suddenly command massive chanting, fist-pumping, jumpsuit-wearing crowds. This video from Hengshui No.2 Middle School (which, judging by the clip, has thousands of students) is an oath-taking rally, in which students promise to kick that multiple choice lovin' exam's ass back to whence it came.

Chinese craze for English debated (March 14, 2013, Xinhua)

A Chinese professor's blunt criticism of what he believes is an excessive craze for learning English has sparked heated debate among the public. People's mania for English learning has wasted education resources and threatened the study of Chinese, said Zhang Shuhua, dean of the information and intelligence institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Zhang made the remarks at a meeting during the annual session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the top political advisory body, which closed on Tuesday. His outspoken words have triggered intense online discussion, with nearly 90,000 comments posted on the topic by 9 p.m. Thursday on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

FOOD / TRAVEL

Watch: Crossed Line, gorgeous black and white time lapse of Shanghai (March 11, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Shanghaiist reader Stephen Wright sent us this gorgeous black and white time lapse video set in Shanghai, created by Liu Jia and Luo Tong for LostPensivos Films. The music is 'Thirty Incoming' by New York-based band The Books.

Urumqi International Bazaar: Must-See or Tourist Trap? (March 12, 2013, Far West China)

One of the most visually rewarding destinations in Xinjiangs capital of Urumqi is the International Grand Bazaar (). Nestled in the heart of Uyghur, Hui and Russian neighborhoods, it claims to be the largest bazaar in the world.

Ordering Dim Sum in China (March 13, 2013, Lets Eat China)

The best dim sum restaurants are often inexpensive and packed with people. In Hong Kong some (usually older) people go for dim sum every morning, taking an enormous newspaper with them and staying there for hours on end. So dont go when you only have twenty minutes to spendits an experience to be savoured.

LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGE LEARNING

21 essential dictionaries and corpora for learning Chinese (March 5, 2013, Hacking Chinese)

Frequently used Chinese characters (Mandarinposter.com)

Spot the Difference between these Identical Phrases (March 12, 2013, Sinosplice)

Top Chinese music sites to learn Chinese through music (ninchanese blog)

BOOKS

Half a Century of Harvesting Souls in China (March 13, 2013, China Real Time)

This was a signal to write the book, the younger Mr. ONeill said Tuesday night at the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival, where he introduced Frederick: The Life of My Missionary Grandfather in Manchuria, the culmination of more than two decades spent tracing the often difficult years his grandfather had spent proselytizing in Chinas frozen north.

The Deeply Odd Lives of Chinese Bureaucrats (March 14, 2013, China Real Time)

Fourteen years ago, Mr. Wangs former boss was sentenced to death for corruption. Ma Xiangdong, the deputy mayor of the northeast city of Shenyang, was convicted of accumulating 31.5 million yuan, or about $5 million, through bribes and embezzlement. Authorities rejected Mr. Mas appeal. On the day after Mr. Mas execution in 2001, Mr. Wang saw a picture of his boss in the newspaper, holding a cigarette in his hand, looking very desperate and confused. Saddened, Mr. Wang sat down and wrote 10,000 words, the beginning of what would be his first novel, The Mayors Secretary.

History in photos: Chengdu in the eyes of the Flying Tigers (March 14, 2013, Go Chengdoo)

A book of photos showcase a treasure trove of more than 200 color photographs of Shanghai, Kunming, Chongqing, Hangzhou, and Chengdu from September 1944 to December 1945.The images were shot by Americans Allen Larsen and William Dibble, who were part of the "Flying Tigers," the American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force during World War II.

China in the Eyes of Flying Tigers 1944-1945 (from PurpleCulture.net)

LINKS FOR RESEARCHERS

Regulation on Religious Staff in Chinese Religious Organizations (Part 1) (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)

Movie: China: The Roots of Madness, 1967 (National Archives)

Robert E. Chambers (Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity)

Image credit: Zhongshang road in Chinese Valentine's Day, by kejing Gu, via Flickr