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

Thousand Word Thursdays: Shoes from the Qing Dynasty, China

Mar 27, 2014 10:18:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

Each Thursday we will post a photo worth a thousand words from one of CAPA International Education’s global cities and let the image speak for itself.

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Posted in: Beijing, China

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

Christmas in China

Dec 20, 2013 8:49:08 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

What is the Christmas season like for an American student in one of China’s global cities?

We asked CAPA's Director of China Programs, Colin Speakman, who has spent several Christmases in Beijing and Shanghai.

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Many people know that the People's Republic of China (PRC) is governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC). They may also know that the CPC is officially atheist. This means that there are no religious festivals officially recognized as public holidays.

Photo: Xmas gear on sale in Tianjin, China by Colin Speakman

China celebrates non-religious holidays with days off of work and family gatherings, such as the Western and Chinese New Year, Tomb Sweeping Day, May Day, Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn Festivals, and the founding of the PRC in October.

Photo: Dec 8th - Xmas trees unpacked for setting up in a Beijing office center by Colin Speakman

However, there is freedom to follow recognized religions, of which the biggest two are Buddhism and Daoism. The fastest growing faith is Christianity, and there are impressive Protestant and Catholic churches where you can attend Christmas services in Beijing and Shanghai. Some churches are authorized to welcome all, while others are restricted to foreigners. This is because reaching out to others to join a religious group is not permitted in China, and local Chinese may not attend some religious gatherings organized by visitors.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Beijing, China

Guest Post: China's Spring Festival - The World's Largest Migration and the Year of the Snake

Feb 6, 2013 3:22:26 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

A guest post by Colin Speakman, Director of China Programs for CAPA International Education.

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China has a population of over 1.3 billion.

During the Spring Festival, it is estimated that over three billion individual journeys will be made as Chinese migrant workers, university students and others in the big cities make the traditional annual trek home to their parents and relatives in provinces and rural areas.


Photo: Chinese airlines are quick, but unaffordable for most by Colin Speakman

This transport challenge requires spreading over 40 days from mid-January to late February and somewhere in between lies Chinese New Year.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Beijing, China

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