January 17-24, 2006

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Language exchange

"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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Only children face New Year dilemma where to go

By Cao Li

An eagerness to reunite in this most precious Chinese holiday - Spring Festival - is sending people home to their families - but which home?

Li Dan, from Hunan Province, will not be able to spend the upcoming Spring Festival holiday with his wife Wang Xiaoli, again. Wang from Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, will go back there to spend time with her widowed mother.

Both the only child at home, Li and Wang face the same hard choice of whose home to go to every Spring Festival. They were not together during the Spring Festival in the first or second year of their marriage.

Last year, they made a shift to rush back to the husband's parents in the short January 1 holiday in order to stay with the wife's mother during the Spring Festival.

"But my mother was a little unhappy about that," Li said.

Li's parents spent the New Year Eve at his uncle's home. "They felt lonely without me at what is the most important family gathering time for Chinese."

China's family planning policy, which started 20 years ago has shrunk the average family size.

Li's paternal grandmother gave birth to four sons and one daughter. He spent almost every New Year's Eve at her home with uncles, aunts and cousins. That was the most exciting time of the year for Li.

"But there have been ever fewer people attending such gatherings since my grandparents passed away," he said. "My absence made them feel even more lonely."

The couple finally decided to stay with their own parents this year, which means they will be far away from each other.

The problem is not restricted to couples with different hometowns. Lots of other married only-children are affected too.

Chen Min, a married Shanghai woman, will finally be able to stay at her parents this Chinese New Year's Eve, despite the fact her in-laws are a little upset about it.

It is a tradition for a married woman to stay with her husband's family on Chinese New Year's Eve. But as her parents' only child, Chen hopes to spend this most important time with her parents too, as she did once before several years ago.

"My husband's parents become unhappy every time," she said.
Xu, a white collar who was married in 2004, has found a better way to solve the dilemma. She invited both parents to her home last year.

"Every one is happy with that arrangement and we are going to do it again this year."

Like most people under 30 in this country, Xu and her husband are both the only child at home.

"It is difficult to be filial all the time because the only-children are the most important part of their families," she said.

Meanwhile, the proportion of senior citizens has increased rapidly in Shanghai, demanding care from the members of the comparatively small younger generation.

By the end of 2004, about 20 per cent of Shanghai's 17 million registered residents were older than 60.

In the downtown East Nanjing Road neighbourhood, nearly 22 per cent of residents are above 60 and many of them live by themselves, with few visits from their children.

The committee of the neighbourhood made a decision last month to publish the names of young people on a bulletin board if they fail to visit their parents in three months or at important holidays like the Spring Festival. It withdrew the idea later after receiving complaints from young people and their parents.

"We were not intending to blame them. We wanted to encourage them to visit their parents more regularly," said the director of the committee, Ding Weilong, quoted in the Shanghai Morning Post. "Being busy is not a proper excuse for not visiting for a long time."

Ding said they were going to send letters to the young people instead.
The rest home in the Pingliang Neighbourhood of the Yangpu District will charge an extra 50 yuan (US$6) to people whose parents will stay in the rest home over Chinese New Year's Eve.

"It is not a punishment, but we hope the seniors will be able to spend the holiday with their families," said Zhu, the head of the rest home.
Zhu said that 20 of their 70 residents would be going home this holiday, more than in recent years.


Cai Shaoyao

Balance public opinion and judicial independence



End of the Dream
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Auto fans melt away
With the approach of the Formula One Grand Prix, Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit, was worried about how to attract enough spectators to the circuit and rev up sluggish fan interest in the event.
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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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