December 29, 2005 - January 4, 2006

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"The most important characteristic of a chief executive of any region is that he or she should be a noble person."

- Li Ka Shing, business tycoon from Hong Kong, on the topic of the special administrative region's future chief executive. see more

Arabian delights

CHEF Tarek Mouriess carried about 10 kinds of ingredients in his suitcase on his flight to Shanghai to host an Arabic Food Promotion at the Hilton Shanghai.
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Teahouse offers flavour and ancient aura

By Shao Xiaoyi

Hangzhou has been renowned for tea for more than 1,000 years, and tea drinkers have always had the happy dilemma of choosing from among many delicious beverages. Just as important as the type of tea, however, is where you drink it. In Hangzhou, one of the best is He Teahouse.

Run by antique collectors, He Teahouse looks more like a museum than anything else. Mysterious and classic decorations from the owners' collection make this a delightful choice from among the city's hundreds of teahouses.

Opened in 1999, He Teahouse has three shops around the city. The same quality teas are served in each shop, and while the decor varies somewhat, patrons can still enjoy interesting Chinese antiques in all three.

A quiet lane enclosed by urban infrastructure leads to the He Teahouse in Huimin Lu.

A mahogany chair from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and a plate once used by the Emperor Guangxu of the same era are displayed in the show window, giving a hint of what can be seen inside. The museum-quality pieces from ancient China allow tea lovers to linger in the world of the past.

Artistically arranged antique furniture, sculptures, images of Buddha, jewellery and tea cups harmonize with the atmosphere of tea culture.
Open seating is available on the first floor, but for a cozier and more intimate atmosphere, private rooms with amber colour lighting are available on the second floor.

The delicate tea aromas, the pleasure of drinking the tea, the light music all combine to lure tea lovers to this marvellous teahouse.

Fifty varieties of fine tea, including Hangzhou's own Longjing green tea (Dragon Well Tea), scented teas, jasmine and black teas are served.
Snacks of boiled dumplings, steamed stuffed buns, wontons, eight treasure porridge, noodles and desserts are available.

Tea and snacks cost around 50 yuan (US$6) per person from 9 am to 6 pm or 6 pm to 2 am.

The art of tea drinking is demonstrated frequently. The water used to make tea is from Hupao Spring in Hangzhou, one of China's best-known three springs, to ensure the tea's high-quality taste.

Pang Ying, the manager of the He Teahouse, believes the Chinese-style teahouse is the perfect place for people to relax with friends, talk business or hold a party for family members.

Foreigners come to the teahouse to drink Chinese tea and learn more about tea culture, said Pang, who is an ardent admirer of the culture and ancient objects.

Pang said He Teahouse came into being mainly because her friend and eventual business partner had a collection of antiques that was too big to put in a private house. Opening a teahouse solved the space problem and offered the added advantage of letting more people enjoy the ancient art objects.

Pang has travelled around the country to collect antiques while trying different types of tea to add to the menu.

"I hope more Chinese people will pay attention to their own tea culture. Many young people think tea is a drink for older people and that the taste is bitter," said Pang.

"Actually, China has hundreds of types of teas which can suit all tastes."

There are about 1,000 teahouses in Hangzhou. According to a recent survey, more than 48 per cent of Hangzhou citizens drink tea regularly while only 9 per cent do not drink tea daily.

He Teahouse
77 Huimin Lu, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571-87829711
40-42, Qiushi Lu
Tel: 0571-87960589
Shi Wudong Park
Tel: 0571-87153230
Average cost: 50-68 yuan

Cai Shaoyao

Balance public opinion and judicial independence



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Auto fans melt away
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Under artificial eyes

FOR most customers, CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras installed in shops, banks, buses or metro stops and many other places, merit little attention. But for Xiao Gang, such cameras have become an agonizing and confusing problem.

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