Olympic flame, a woman in space and basketball star retires: China this week

China welcomes Olympic flame for Beijing 2022

A welcome ceremony for the Olympic flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games was held at the Beijing Olympic Tower near the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in the Chinese capital on Wednesday. The flame had flown in from Athens, Greece, ahead of the games in February.

Sun Yue was a star with Los Angeles Lakers earlier in his career. /VCG

Sun Yue was a star with Los Angeles Lakers earlier in his career. /VCG

Former Chinese national basketball team guard Sun Yue has retired from professional basketball, the CBA's Beijing Royal Fighters, the team he played for in the last two seasons, announced. The 35-year-old starred for the national team, and won the NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, who he joined in 2008.

Sun is also an ambassador of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, providing support to children at Houshan Primary School in Heshan County, southwest China's Guizhou Province. He donated 250,000 pairs of nitrile rubber gloves to Wuhan after COVID-19 hit.


Life as a female taikonaut in space

The veil of mystery over female taikonauts, as astronauts are known in China, has become increasingly discussed as the China Space Station welcomed its first female guest. And the stay will be as long as six months, the longest in China's space travel history.

Historically, female taikonauts are rare. So it's understandable that the public has even less knowledge about their space life and how it's different from those of men.

Pang Zhihao, a Beijing-based space expert and retired researcher from the China Academy of Space Technology told that female taikonauts show a better magnesium metabolism than men and have better estrogen level, which makes them more suitable to live in space.


Chinese underwater dance

The performances have become hugely popular. /Guo Jiyong

The performances have become hugely popular. /Guo Jiyong

In June, an underwater dance performance titled Rhapsody on the Luo River won praise from netizens on China's social media platforms. In recent years, its director Guo Jiyong has wowed viewers with a series of underwater programs honoring traditional Chinese culture.

"Every time we dive, we have to resurface every minute or every 40 seconds to take a breath. We need to film the footage in a very short time," Guo told CGTN. For one work, China Red, they spent more than 20 hours under the water and dived more than 400 times. 


Seed bank key for preserving genetic diversity

There are currently more than 1,000 seed banks around the world, playing a pivotal role in preserving genetic diversity for the future. In southwest China's Kunming City, scientists have spent the past 15 years working on a project known as the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species.

The bank has a collection of more than 10,000 seeds from wild species. They vary in color, shape and genetic makeup. Some of them are stored at very low temperatures, while others survive in vitro, with a small number kept in liquid nitrogen, known as cryopreservation. There are also impressive international collaborations.


Draft family education being reviewed

Chinese lawmakers are this week reviewing a draft family education law, which aims to promote the role of families in the early education of children. Another goal is to provide support for parents and guardians to perform their duties properly.

"The draft clarifies that parents should properly arrange time for studies, rest, entertainment and physical exercises for minors to avoid additional academic pressure and to prevent internet addiction. Governments above county levels shall take measures to ease the burden on students from excessive homework and off-campus tutoring. Schools and families shall have smooth communication channels to cooperate in students' education," said Zang Tiewei, spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of NPC Standing Committee.

"With regard to legal responsibilities, the draft stipulates that parents or other guardians shall shoulder legal consequences if they refuse or don't properly perform family education duties. It also says that the police, procuratorate and court can admonish parents or guardians for misconduct or crimes committed by their minors, and order them to receive family education instructions," the spokesperson added.


The creator of the through-building metro station

Visitors and tourists are keen to see the train 'entering' the building. /Wang Tianyu/CGTN

Visitors and tourists are keen to see the train 'entering' the building. /Wang Tianyu/CGTN

Every day, thousands of people go to Liziba monorail station to take pictures of trains passing through a 19-story building. The station is located in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, which is also known as China's "Mountain City," due to its varying heights – the city's urban area is built around hills and skyscrapers. 

The man behind this project, Ye Tianyi, a teacher in the College of Civil Engineering of Chongqing University, never thought that one day his work would become one of the city's most-visited tourist spots.

The brief history is that the land was bought to be developed by a real estate company, Ye told CGTN. However, according to the Chongqing Rail Transit Line 2 plans, a stop needed to be set at the site. The stop could not be moved because there is a 20- to 30-meter-high slope lying to the north, which left no extra space, and the Jialing River is in the south.

After negotiations, the Chongqing Rail Transit Group and that real estate company agreed to develop Liziba together. A team led by Ye took two years to finish the eye-catching design.


The clown at China's top theater festival

On a wet Sunday evening in the famous water town of Wuzhen in east China, Fan Haoru and his assistant can be seen dragging two huge suitcases along the stone pavement in a rush. A brown fluffy monkey head sticks out of one of the cases, bouncing up and down as Fan strides forward in gigantic yellow shoes.

It's not hard to guess from their outfits that they are not tourists but performers of the eighth Wuzhen Theater Festival, which is taking place now in town dubbed the "Venice of the East."

This year, the Wuzhen Theater Festival has taken the concept of "burgeoning" as its theme. Because of the pandemic there are not the usual international performers at the 10-day festival which this year features 66 performances of 24 plays staged at 12 venues.


How new Beijing theme park stacks up

In terms of visitor numbers, Happy Valley is on the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide list. /CFP

In terms of visitor numbers, Happy Valley is on the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide list. /CFP

The grand opening of Universal Beijing Resort takes the battle for China's theme park market to new levels. Coupled with the rebound in domestic travel and holiday spending after the pandemic-related slowdown, Universal Beijing Resort has driven an increase in visitor numbers at regional parks like Beijing Happy Valley.

On the first day of the National Day holiday, Beijing Happy Valley received 50,000 visitors. That was the highest number in the 15 years since it opened and an increase of nearly 100 percent compared to 2019, according to Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism. Click on the link above, to see how the different theme parks compare.


Top 100 archaeological findings

And finally in this week's round-up, a story that has been thousands of years in the making. The third China Archaeological Congress opened on Monday in the city of Sanmenxia, central China's Henan Province as the country celebrated the centenary of the establishment of modern Chinese archaeology by unveiling the country's top 100 archaeological discoveries.

The archaeological sites are divided into eight categories based on the historical periods in which they originated, spanning from the Paleolithic period to the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). Thirty-three of them, the largest in number, fall under the category of the Neolithic period.

Henan Province is home to the largest number of archaeological sites listed, 14 in total, followed by Shaanxi Province in northwestern China, which has 11. Some familiar names such as Zhoukoudian, Liangzhu and Sanxingdui have made it onto the list. 

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