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Background, Chongqing, Hohhot, Xi'an

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Recently, Oriental Outlook, a Chinese news weekly, published excerpts from three chapters of our book: on Mr Deng in his floating village in Chongqing, on the residential compound in Xi’an, and on ethnic culture in Hohhot. Several Chinese news portals spread the stories. An excerpt of our story on Xi’an was published on amongst others Sohu, one of the biggest news portals in China, 565, a popular BBS on international news; and on the news portals dooland and FGS. News portal JSBBS published an excerpt of our chapter on Hohhot.

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Art districts and River Crab

Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Project, Xi'an

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picture Corneliu Cazacu

A lot of the cities we visit have a so called ‘art district’. These places basically consist of abandoned factories where artists have created their studio’s. Chinese cities are stimulating these kind of places as an attempt to create ‘creative cities’, cities where the arts flourish and contribute to the GDP.
Typically is that the attitude from the Chinese government towards art has changed overtime from ignorant in the early ’80’s to supportive since around 2005. The reason for this change is as predictable as simple: money. Chinese artists and the products they make have gained worldwide attention, not in the least in auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s where Chinese art prices go through the roof since the start of the new millennium. And they’re still going strong.

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Chongqing Man Returns Home To Find It Demolished – chinaSMACK

Chongqing

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More news from Chongqing: whoever still thinks that housing removal in China happens without any pressure, should read the following story on ChinaSmack: you return home after a long trip and find your house ruined…

Chongqing Man Returns Home To Find It Demolished – chinaSMACK.

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Farmers in Chongqing say ‘no thanks’ to hukou – GlobalTimes

Background, Chongqing

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farm in Chongqing

Remarkable developments in China’s hukou discussion. The hukou, a registration system for urban and rural dwellers, divides the Chinese people in two. Recently, the Chongqing government announced to change its policy:

The Chongqing government announced a major policy change in July that would turn 10 million farmers into urban residents by 2020. People with rural registration, or hukou, do not presently enjoy healthcare, education and social insurance benefits that urban residents receive in many cities.

People reacted different than expected:

Just 44,700 rural residents in Chongqing had changed their hukou to urban residents as of August 31, the Chongqing Daily reported earlier.

The reason?

Chen Yue, deputy head of the Village Institute at the Chongqing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Beijing News that compared with rural people, urban residents face more pressure in terms of finding jobs, buying apartments, educational fees, and medical expenses, all sources of frustration for most rural people.

Farmers in Chongqing say ‘no thanks’ to hukou – GlobalTimes.

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Forced internationalization: Police ordered to eat western food

Chongqing

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Our friend Nick Mackie, journalist in Chongqing for the BBC amongst others, recently reported on a quite remarkable aspect of internationalization: the police force in the city is ordered to eat western food and drink coffee for lunch in an attempt to change its culture. The story got picked up on other media, amongst others RTHK:

Police chiefs in the mainland city of Chongqing have ordered officers to eat western instead of Chinese food in a bid to change the culture of the force. They believe that the initiative will help an ongoing drive to wipe out endemic corruption in the force. The city’s former chief of police was recently executed for his close links to organised crime gangs.

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11 reasons to love Chongqing

Chongqing

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There are a lot of reasons to fall in love with the city of Chongqing, this seductive mixture of Beijing, Hong Kong and L.A. …

1. Not all buildings are finished

2. Disc shaped buildings on top of other ones

3. The city combines flyovers, skyscrapers and neon in an unpolished way

4. Double elevated highways constructed over buildings

5. Mountains with Swiss villas

6. Super elevated highways!

7. That in some views, without too much effort, it is possible to see only concrete, and a pool

8. …or only concrete..

9. ..and more …

10. ..and even more..

11. That the bridge over the Jianling river seems tiny but is in fact huge.

Today we were back in the city we liked from the very moment we saw her…take a look…need we say more..?

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MAD architects: urban forest

Background, Chongqing

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Urban Forest scheme, Chongqing, MAD

MAD Architects, Beijing recently revealed their plan for the so called ‘Urban Forest’ scheme in the city of Chongqing. Read more on this designboom post: MAD architects: urban forest.

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Slideshow China’s floating villages on www.vn.nl

Chongqing

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This week, the Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland publishes our story about China’s ‘floating villages’. We spend a week on a construction site in Chongqing and talked to the workers and small businessmen who inhibit the place. A slideshow of pictures from the floating village in Chongqing you can find on the website of Vrij Nederland.

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China’s floating villages

Background, Chongqing

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Floating Village

This seams to be a regular building site in Chongqing, one of China’s fast growing mega-cities. But it also is a so called ‘floating village’ : a temporary residence of migrant workers around one of the thousands of construction sites in China. The inhabitants work as a chef,  a shop owner or a prostitute. China’s ‘floating population’ counts 150 million. After work is finished, the whole village moves to the next building site.

For one week we walked through the village on the picture. We talked with restaurant owner Deng and his wife about their business model, and with manager Wen who dreams about retirement. We tried to reveal why the 800 inhabitants leave their homes and kid and move into a container or under a corrugated roof. What seems to be a slum, turns out to be a vibrant village with its own fresh market, health center and cinema.

The whole story about the floating village in Chongqing is in this weeks’ Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland.

Check also: Eeuw van de Stad » Go West Project (5): China’s ‘dolende dorpen’.

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Chongqing to have rail link with Rotterdam — Shanghai Daily

Chongqing

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The story is already some weeks old, but I stumbled upon it today. The vice mayor of Chongqing (a city of >30 million souls in central China) has said his city will have a cargo railway straight to Rotterdam, the Netherlands before 2012. This will greatly boost economic potential of central and western China. More on Shanghai Daily.

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City one minutes – chongqing – 02:00

Background, Chongqing

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On the website city one minutes you can find beautiful small (one minute – hence the name) movies about big cities all around the world. Also about Chongqing, the city we visited last May. Check out this movie about the nightlife: shooting heart shaped balloons at one of Chongqings squares: city one minutes – chongqing – 02:00.

Impression movie 2:00, Lotje van Lieshout

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The megalopolis you’ve never heard of

Chongqing

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An article from The Guardian newspaper about Chongqing, a city with over 30 million inhabitants that most people outside of China don’t know. Apart from that, it’s one of the cities the Go West Project visits. Read The megalopolis you’ve never heard of | World news | The Guardian.

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