Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Wang Leehom | Full Address [Oxford Union/Youtube] #RisingChina #Music #WangLeeHom

Bridging a great divide : American-born Chinese all-round entertainer Wang Leehom 王力宏 at the Oxford Union on  Chinese soft power deficit in pop culture, identity and the East/West cross-pollinaton that is nowhere near potential.

Also – Check out Wang Lee-Hom’s homage to his ethnic heritage  with a cover of  龙的传人 (Descendants of the Dragon).

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Wang Leehom | Full Address
Source – Youtube, published April 21, 2013
Download the mixtape here – : http://www.wangleehom.com/OxfordMixtape

Drawing on the lessons of his experience growing up in the US and then migrating East, Wang Leehom talks about Chinese pop music and the ability of music and pop culture to strengthen the relationship between the East and West.

Filmed on Sunday 21st April 2013

ABOUT WANG LEEHOM: The first Chinese pop star and actor to be invited speak at the Oxford Union, Wang Leehom is the perfect ambassador for Chinese pop music and commentator on the emergence of “World Pop,” not only because he has sold millions of albums and consistently been one of the hottest names in Chinese music since his debut in 1995, but also because of the unique journey he has taken from his childhood home of Rochester, New York, to concert stages and movie sets around the world.

Formally trained at Williams College and the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Leehom has written and recorded songs in a large variety of styles, including pop, rap, hip-hop, jazz and R&B, and is also known for his pioneering infusion of traditional Chinese elements and instrumentation into contemporary music. In addition to his successful solo concert tours, the latest of which will bring him to The O2 in London on April 15, Leehom’s diverse musical talents have seen him perform onstage with everyone from Usher to Kenny G to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, with which he appeared as as a guest conductor and violin soloist.

Additionally, Leehom is an acclaimed actor who has starred in the Golden Lion Award-winning “Lust, Caution” from Ang Lee, “Little Big Soldier” opposite Jackie Chan and the self-written and directed “Love in Disguise”. He is also well known for his philanthropic work and environmental advocacy, which were cited as reasons he was the only Chinese recording artist selected as a torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With over 33 million followers, Leehom is among the most followed personalities on Weibo (a Chinese analogue to Twitter). Source – Oxford Union, 2013

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Entertainment, Ethnicity, Greater China, History, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Music, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Taiwan, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., Youtube

The Fastest Changing Place On Earth (BBC) #RisingChina #Urbanisation

The BBC with a ground up close up of what it means to ride China’s irresistible wave of land reform.The China model has a lot of mouths and expectations to feed. Much of its interior still requires some work – turning 500 million more rural folk into city folk is a great task at hand.

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This World tells the story of White Horse Village, a tiny farming community deep in rural China. A decade ago, it became part of the biggest urbanisation project in human history, as the Chinese government decided to take half a billion farmers and turn them into city-dwelling consumers.

It is a project with a speed and scale unimaginable anywhere else on Earth. In just ten years, the Chinese Government plan to build thousands of new cities, a new road network to rival that of the USA and 300 of the world’s biggest dams.

Carrie Gracie follows the lives of three local people during this upheaval, filmed over the past six years.

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Ideology, Influence, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity, Youtube

12th ‘Han-Language Bridge’ competition 第十二届”汉语桥” [China HunanTV] #RisingChina #CulturalCapital

Chinese public diplomacy with edutainment at its sharpest, in a reminder to the world – we’re not a militant monolith!

University students from 77 countries congregate to exchange narratives in modern and traditional Chineseness. That their introductions took up more than 11 minutes out of the 79 minute runtime was pretty cool..

It is also noteworthy that Chinese state media channels are not exactly sitting idly as state instruments. Their creativity and platforms for expression are worth catching up on, if Mandarin isn’t a barrier. In any case, the production and narrative values are good enough it’s worth watching if you’re got an hour plus to spare.

For more – 中国湖南卫视官方频道 China HuNanTV Official Channel to see a spread of their content.

第十二届”汉语桥”15强诞生 五洲选手尽展别样风情-【湖南卫视官方1080P】20130717


Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Entertainment, Government & Policy, Greater China, Ideology, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Youtube

北京簋街 汉族餐饮店与藏族摊贩群殴 Ai Weiwei films Beijing street brawl [Youtube/Al Jazeera]

China is difficult to govern. Intercultural misunderstandings as such perhaps do not get as much light of day as they should. It highlights the income divide, one perhaps stratified by ethnicity or failure to subscribe to the dominant narrative.

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Ai Weiwei films Beijing street brawl
Video shows fight between Tibetan vendors and Han workers in China’s capital.
Source – Youtube, published May 12, 2013

Text below from Reuters – May, 13, 2013

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei posted a dramatic video on Sunday showing a violent brawl in the streets of Beijing.
Ai wrote on Twitter that the fight broke out after Han Chinese restaurant owners destroyed a stall run by Tibetan street vendors. Witnesses later told Reuters that security workers refused to allow the vendors to set up shop outside the restaurant.
There are a reported 10,000 Tibetans living in Beijing, and Han Chinese make up 92 percent of China’s population.

Filed under: Ai Weiwei, Al Jazeera, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, People, Social, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Youtube

一虎一席谈 – 中印关系是合作还是对抗?Tiger Talk Are Sino-India relationships based on cooperation or resistance? [Youtube] #SinoIndiaDispute

If you have 46 minutes to spare, Tiger Talk 一虎一席谈 is a recommended watch.

A prominent political forum on the more outward looking Phoenix TV, it features international representation conversant in Chinese to provide an offering of balanced perspectives. It shows the strides many foreigners have gone through to be competent to engage in discourse and often argument with Chinese policy makers, intellectuals, military officials and the like.

This episodes shows both sides of the coin on the China India border dispute.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Greater China, India, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, Youtube

Tiger Talk: North Korea – war or peace? 一虎一席谈: 朝鲜半岛 战争还是和平 [Phoenix Television 凤凰网 / Youtube] #RisingChina #NorthKorea #TVCurrentAffairs

A dynamic current affairs programe on Phoenix TV features panelists with competing views of analysis  in discourse over the threat of North Korea on April 27, 2013.

In Mandarin with Chinese subtitles. Running time: 48 minutes.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Culture, Hard Power, Influence, International Relations, Media, military, New Leadership, North Korea, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Youtube

‘Take that China’ on The Ellen Show [Youtube] #China #US #Ellen #MediaRepresentation

Ellen DeGeneres in a tongue in cheek assessment on the the shifting US and China status quo.

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‘Take that China’ on The Ellen Show
Source – Youtube, published April 5, 2013

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Communications, Culture, Economics, Entertainment, Finance, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., Youtube,

Wandering China: Facing West

Greetings! Here’s sharing a latest project on initial visits to China’s other narratives.

China is far from monolithic ,
The cities along the East coast may dominate popular discourse.

But our journeys cover Northwest and Southwest China,
away from the steel-citied skies,
where culture breathes deeper.
the ancient cities and former capitals of dynastic strife,
Xi’An and Chengdu, the city set in the hills Guilin,
and their surrounds.

Re-imagining ‘home’ as
returning overseas-born Chinese sojourn brothers.

Featuring photos from our journeys
to uncover the other side of China.

Photography by
Chen Siyuan

Production, photography and music by

Filed under: Bob's Opinion, Culture, Environment, History, Youtube

Who are the Chinese 誰是華人? [Youtube]

Overseas Chinese making sense of China through largely positive memories. Filmed in 2011 – in China, Singapore, London, Paris, Melbourne and Malaysia, this ethnic narrative is UK Christian minister (though not apparent initially in the first fifteen minutes) Reggie Lee’s take on the Chinese identity through history, dynasty, philoosphy and culture. The short film then steers toward reconciling Chinese-ness with Christianity in anticipation of what many Chinese Christianity skeptics would say about the bible – ‘but there is no mention of Chinese people in the bible’.

Making up about 20 percent of the world’s population, the Chinese are a significant race and have a history of more than 5,000 years steeped with traditions. However, because of the Chinese Diaspora and the cultural revolution in the early sixties, many Chinese have a very vague idea of their history, culture and tradition. “Who are the Chinese?” is a film that takes you into the deep cultural and spiritual roots of the Chinese. Filmed in 6 locations across the world, this production provides those searching for their history a well researched documentary with a few surprises. Source – Whoarethechinese.com 2012

Filed under: Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Ethnicity, Greater China, History, Influence, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, People, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.K., Youtube, , , , , , ,

Zheng Hong 郑虹 from the Voice of China [Youtube]

Weekend listening pleasure?

Zheng Hong 郑虹 from the southern province of Fujian (portrayed as a daughter of a wushu exponent) emerges as China’s Adele, from the increasingly popular talent program The Voice of China, catching the hearts of the judges and audience alike.

Apologies – video comes without subtitles. She sings from 02.00 to 04.30.

The comments that come with the video range from positive to negative ones that highlight copy cat, but I prefer to look at it another way, here’s a great example of East learning from some of the best of the West. From knowing that talent can be rewarded through the format of a relatively unbiased talent-based platform, discovering what would otherwise be bedroom musicians, to learning about the contemporary Western narrative through popular music, these democratic gestures expressed through Chinese popular culture can only bridge more divides.

Filed under: Culture, Democracy, Lifestyle, Media, People, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, Youtube, , , ,

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July 2020

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East/West headlines of Rising China

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The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

Please click to access video

Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

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Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
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