The pros and cons of building a city from scratch – China society and culture news from May 5, 2017
When the government announced in April that it would create the Xiongan New Area 60 miles south of Beijing, it triggered a property-buying frenzy as speculators looked to profit from the expansion of the planned annex city to the capital. Xiongan is planned to grow to three times the size of New York City and will incorporate education facilities, institutions, and residents from nearby big cities.
The Guardian has taken a sympathetic look at plans for Xiongan, and concludes that the concept of an integrated city cluster might actually make sense as a way to avoid population overload, traffic jams, environmental destruction, and other ills of megacities. There are, of course, problems: The article says that “China’s stride toward the promotion of megaregions comes many years after the UN condemned the environmental and social impacts of such ‘endless cities.’” In the short term, challenges include the establishment of public services to new migrants and fair compensation to original residents who refuse to relocate. In the long term, despite the stated intention for the new development to be ecologically sound, “environmentalists have raised a red flag on plans to include most of Northern China’s largest wetland” in the Xiongan New Area, according to a Caixin report in April.
Chinese entrepreneur stumps up ¥10 million purse to defeat MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong / SCMP
On May 4, we noted the online controversy stirred up by a video of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Xu Xiaodong 徐晓冬 destroying tai chi master Lei Lei 雷雷 in 10 seconds in an exhibition fight held on April 27. On May 5, the South China Morning Post reported that a “Chinese tycoon is offering a total of 10 million yuan to people who can defeat the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who sparked a storm over the merits of traditional martial arts versus modern combat.”
The man behind China’s Ebola vaccine / Sixth Tone
“Out of the blue, little-known Chinese company CanSino Biologics announced that it would be able to mass-produce a vaccine based on the 2014 Ebola strain that could save millions of lives… The man who made it all possible was Yu Xuefeng 宇学峰, who founded CanSino in 2009 after more than two decades of experience at international biotechnology companies.”
South Korea and China chasing hockey dreams / The Diplomat
“As the next two hosts of the Winter Olympics, both countries are pushing to improve their ice hockey performances.”
- Watch the news or we’ll dock your pay, Chinese firm tells staff / SCMP
- Burton Watson, 91, influential translation of classical Asian literature, dies / NYT (paywall)