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On This Day: China's Past & Why We should Never Forget December 13

Dec 13, 2018 10:37:00 AM / by 'Connecting Global Cities' by Colin Speakman

Today is the 81st anniversary of an event that horrified the world. On December 13, 1937, during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, Japanese troops attacked the then capital of China, Nanking (Nanjing) - the government already having relocated - and over six weeks, according to records and reports, murdered around 300,000 Nanjing citizens, including women and children. Today fewer than 400 survivors are still alive to tell the tale.

The story of the Nanjing Massacre has been well told in Iris Chang's 1997 book The Rape of Nanking and in several movies in recent years including "Nanking" ,"City of Life and Death", "John Rabe" and most recently "The Flowers of War". It was perhaps fitting that, along with my students, we watched the showing of "The City of Life and Death" in a large movie theater in Nanjing in 2009. We were a small Western group in a cinema packed with locals and it was impossible not to feel the tears of the audience that night. I wondered how many in that very audience had lost grandparents and other kin in that massacre.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Beijing, China, Local Culture

Chinese Holiday Culture by Colin Speakman

Feb 6, 2014 10:36:37 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

We've asked CAPA's Director of China Programs, Colin Speakman, work works regularly between CAPA cities Beijing and Shanghai, to share his insights on Chinese holiday culture.

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Chinese Lunar New Year has just brought us into the Year of the Horse, and the week following that day is known as the Spring Festival. Chinese people in the mainland are finally getting some lengthy vacation time, and they do it big time!

However, let’s back track to the concept of holidays in China generally. Chinese professionals work long hours and typically get only one or two weeks of paid vacation that they can take at any time (an exception is school and university staff with two long closure periods). They also do not receive overtime for working long hours each week, and some weekend work is not unusual. Basically, China just likes to keep going, pumping output to keep the GDP growing at over 7 percent a year. The government frets at the seasonal impact of the holidays on these figures.

travelling in China - Chengdu, China
Photo: Chinese National Day travel in Chengdu by Szymon Kochański

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Beijing, China

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