Destination: Beijing

Jan Wong: Looking Back at China’s Darker Days

Jan Wong: Looking Back at China’s Darker Days Photo by maxf via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by maxf via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In a powerful column, Jan Wong, the author of Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now looks back on her complicated love affair with China—from studying abroad in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution to covering the Tiananmen Square massacre from a hotel room uncomfortably nearby. As the country celebrates its 60th anniversary this week, it’s good to see some thoughtful reflection on the dark times in China’s past, too. (Via @DougSaunders)


China Closes Tibet to Foreign Travelers

Why, you ask?

According to the AP, the closure is designed to ensure stability during celebrations of the 60th anniversary of communist rule in China, which will be marked Oct. 1. The closure will remain in effect through Oct. 8.

Officials have also curtailed kite flying in Beijing.

Critics will shake their heads, but I can think of no better way to celebrate authoritarian rule. Nicely done, China.


Is Ikea ‘The Disney World of China’?

Is Ikea ‘The Disney World of China’? Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Gawker is inexplicably bemused by an L.A. Times article about the Beijing Ikea, where—apparently this is a shock—locals go “just to hang out.” What, New Yorkers don’t like to lounge on the dining room sets with no intentions of buying? And here I thought that was something people worldwide could agree on.


Welcome to ‘Queuing Day’ in Beijing

Welcome to ‘Queuing Day’ in Beijing Photo by ernop via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ernop via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Olympics might be long over, but it seems Beijing isn’t done with its campaign for civic improvement.

In the lead-up to last summer’s Games, we covered the efforts on the part of local officials to tidy up everything from small talk to restaurant menus, and now, one year later, they’re tackling line-ups too—or rather, the lack thereof. The director of Beijing’s Capital Ethic Development Office is implementing monthly “Queuing Days” to encourage waiting in line at subway and bus stops, instead of the standard mad rush. The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon has the full story.


Travel Song of the Day: ‘Beijing’ by Patrick Watson


Photo We Love: Serious Stretching in Beijing

Photo We Love: Serious Stretching in Beijing REUTERS/Grace Liang
REUTERS/Grace Liang

A man stretches during a morning exercise session at a Beijing park.

 


Michael Jackson: A Global Force in Life and Death

Michael Jackson: A Global Force in Life and Death REUTERS/Patrick De Noirmont

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Welcome to Hotel Quarantine

American media executive/blogger Mike Su just wrapped up five days in hotel quarantine in Beijing, after flying in from L.A. seated near someone with flu-like symptoms. Bad luck, but at least he used his time in the big house productively, chronicling The Seven People You’ll Meet in Hotel Quarantine. Yep, a few of these characters sound achingly familiar.


Finding Trouble in Asia: Let Us Count the Ways

Finding Trouble in Asia: Let Us Count the Ways Photo by kwanz via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Is it me, or has it been a surreal few months for Americans in Asia? Guidebook writers and State Department travel monitors, take note: a few new travel “don’ts” have entered the lexicon. To recap, here’s what we know not to do next time we journey East.

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Returning Home: A Tougher Transition?

taipei taiwan train Photo by *Solar ikon*, via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by *Solar ikon*, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Alan Paul writes that he’s feeling persistent grief, three months after returning to the U.S. following a three-year stint in China. He misses his neighborhood noodle restaurant in Beijing, and his kids miss the friends they made at their international school. It’s been a rougher transition than moving to Beijing in the first place, a sentiment shared by several former expats he interviews about cultural re-entry.

“I have certainly found myself carrying a heavier sense of loss here than I ever did there,” he notes. “During my stay in Beijing, people in the U.S. would ask me about missing home and often didn’t believe me when I said it wasn’t a problem. I longed for specific people or places, sometimes profoundly, but I never had a deep sense of loss, simply because I knew that my old existence wasn’t gone forever; it was on hold and I would be returning to it ...”

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Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

Today Art Museum, Beijing, China REUTERS/David Gray

A man walks through a group of works by Chinese artist Yue Minjun, one of which is carrying women's handbags, on display outside the Today Art Museum in central Beijing.

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Tiananmen Square, China

Tiananmen Square, China REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

Hostesses pose for pictures on Tiananmen Square during the closing ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing.

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Video: Jeffrey Tayler on His New Book, ‘Murderers in Mausoleums’

Jeffrey Tayler discusses traveling from Moscow to Beijing, "drink by drink."

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Wumen Gate, Forbidden City, China

wumen gate REUTERS/Jason Lee

Snow falls over the Wumen Gate of the Forbidden City at night in Beijing.

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Morning Links: Bill to End Cuba Travel Ban Introduced, Facebook ‘Flashmobs’ and More

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