Beijing Watchdog: News, Events, Changes

Beijing Watchdog: News, Events, Changes

Sometimes a few stories slip between the cracks, but we try to serve them up in our Watchdog articles. Here’s what you might have missed in the past week and what you could be longing for in the future…


1) Beijing blacks out in support of Earth Hour
Landmark buildings such as the Water Cube and Great Wall switched off their lights for Earth Hour on March 26th, a global event aimed at highlighting the importance of reducing consumption of Earth’s natural resources. Meanwhile, pop duo Yu Quan performed “Turn Off the Lights” (关一盏灯) for WWF China’s official video celebrating Earth Hour. The lyrics roughly translate:

Turn off the light. Let’s make the change. Can’t see ice on an iceberg. Can’t see the stars in the sky. We lost our direction, like polar bears lost their land. More doesn’t always mean more. Less doesn’t always mean less. We also strive for more and more but don’t really understand that less? is more. [Chorus] Turn off the light and light up the stars. Let’s feel this moment together. Turn off the light. Let’s recover the authentic scenery. Turn off the light and light up our future hope. [Repeat chorus]

See the video here.

2) Beijing’s first International Film Festival
If you’re not sure on the logistics of this event, we aren’t either. With only 20 foreign films accepted into the country per year, this film festival promises to be anything but cutting edge. Hosted at various theatres across the city from Saturday April 23rd to Thursday April 28th, expect Oscar flicks and Jackie Chan.

3) “Radical thoughts” pester Peking University
Peking University is planning to screen all its students for “radical thoughts” among other mental oddities, like “internet addiction, psychological fragility, eccentricity, serious illnesses and discipline violations.” The vague term “radical thoughts” has many interested. About 10 students thus far have been assessed mainly due to academic problems.


4) Beijing tests food and water for radiation
After nearly three weeks, Japan’s tsunami and the resulting nuclear crisis is still ongoing and causing fear. After trace amounts of radiation were found in Heilongjiang, the Ministry of Health ordered several coastal cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, to continue testing drinking water and food.

5) Caochangdi PhotoSpring 2011
Through April 23rd through May 1st, Beijing welcomes the second edition of Caochangdi PhotoSpring Festival. If you would like to read more about last year’s event or are interested in submitting a portfolio, information can be found on their website,

6) Lenovo releases LePad
Lenovo recently announced it would one up Apple and release two (or three) new tablets by the end of this year. The Chinese PC market is not as white hot as other industries, but Lenovo is definitely trying to improve its brand name amongst mainland users. LePad will come in 3G or WIFI configurations.

7) McDonald’s bows to inflationary trend
For all you late-night BigMac fans, McDonald’s plans to increase prices in its Chinese market during the second half of the year. McNuggets, McFlurry, McWhatever-You-Want now cause it’s about to get more expensive.

8) Beijing issues mandate against billboards advertising luxury goods
The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce has issued a mandate restricting the usage of words like “luxury, royal, supreme” and “high class” on billboards. Those refusing to comply will face a 30,000 RMB fine. It also targets advertisements of “foreign” things—although the phrase remains vague. Of course, the CCP is concerned with the growing economic gap but apparently only plans to make the related effects less visible. The mandate takes effect April 15th.

9) Strawberry Music Festival kicks off on April 30th in Beijing
Strawberry Music Festival is back in Tongzhou Park this year from April 30th to May 2nd. Though precise details and line-ups are still a little fuzzy, you can be sure that it’ll be a rockin’ event.

10) Three new art exhibitions open at Ullen’s this April 1st
Thirsty for new art this April? UCCA in 798 is unveiling three new exhibitions on April 1st: The first is an exhibition by young painter Kong Lingnan, introduced by UCCA’s curator Yang Shaobin. Kong depicts the natural world with an eery, neon glow. Also on display is a show called “Yellow Signal” by video and multi-media artist Wang Jianwei. Using elements of theatre, philosophical inquiry, artistic methodology and "scripted accident," he seeks to highlight those aspects of life that are poorly defined. Last but not least, renowned fashion photographer Peter Linbergh, whose black and white portraits of supermodels like Kristy turlington and Cindy Crawford are regarded as some of the world’s best, unveils his show the “The Unknown”. The body of work is a visual journey through decades of images, many capturing a contemporary angst with flashes of everyday reality.

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Keywords: Lenovo LePad Beijing April News Beijing international film festival


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