Xi Jinping was officially confirmed last week as China’s president, and with that, here’re some photos of Xi in his early days, no doubt carefully selected but still worth a look. There’s a few photos of him as a young university student and with his family. I must say, he’s got some big smiles in most of them, which suggest he might truly be jollier and down-to-earth than other Chinese leaders such as his immediate predecessor.
BBC has a decent article about China’s departing leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, the ex-Premier. What did they do, it asks. On the surface, this might seem easy to say as the two didn’t exactly oversee any spectacular achievements. But they did oversee a growing economy that saw GDP per capita grow more than fourfold and weathered the 2008 financial crisis, a spectacular 2008 Beijing Olympics, and significant strides in ties with Taiwan. No doubt, there were some negatives as well, such as growing socioeconomic inequality and a reduction in personal freedoms. I do agree with the article’s conclusion- it is still too early to draw a conclusion as the results of their rule will be seen in the following years.
I’ve been steadily following MMA (mixed martial arts) for several years, mainly UFC because it’s by far the biggest league, and it’s cool to see it growing in popularity in North America, Europe, and East Asia. The Economist has a short piece about MMA in China. MMA has been surging in popularity for some time in the US, Canada and Europe, not to mention it used to be big in Japan, and there’s hope that it’ll grow in China too. China has had one fighter fight in the UFC, Zhang Tiequan, who unfortunately is on a three-fight losing streak. The Economist piece reports about a big MMA event in Inner Mongolia, where one of the champions won 1 million yuan, a significant amount of cash for a young sport in China. Yet one consequence of MMA’s popularity is the decrease in interest in traditional martial arts, specifically kung fu, claims the Economist article. The piece doesn’t go into much detail about this claim so it’s not for certain. The Global Times also has a good article about the obstacles in China facing growing MMA , with Zhang being interviewed in the article as well. Besides domestic promotions, Chinese MMA fighters also fight in Asian such as Legend FC and One FC.
For these youngsters in the famous Shaolin Temple in Henan province, kung fu is still definitely big.
Burma used to be considered one of China’s allies. Diplomatically shunned and isolated by the West, Burma could usually rely on China as a steadfast economic and political partner. Now, with Burma’s opening up and the resurgence of ties to the world, it seems China is not considered such a good friend anymore. Apparently, this was a big shock to China, claims a Burmese official in this Atlantic piece.