It’s Olympics Time: Rains Can Wait

AFTER WEEKS of watching the mercury soar, hardening the already cracked earth of their wilting orchards and farms, several farmers gather in the Fragrant Hills that line the western fringe of Beijing. Unlike their ancestors they do not assemble to perform a rain dance or to pray to the Buddha for rain. Instead, they grab…
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Postcard from Macau

On either side, the ocean, inky blue in the gathering twilight rises up as the plane noses downwards straight into the hungry, open mouth of the water. When we touch down on solid earth its miraculous, as though Moses himself had returned to part the ocean. In fact we have landed on a narrow strip…
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Rags to Rolls Royces: Huaxi’s story

ROW AFTER row of two storey mansions with shingled roofs, stucco walls, and the occasional mock Tudor turret. A picture perfect slice of American suburbia, except only a few metres to the south of this idyll the smokestacks of steel works belch out black vaporous clouds while to its north the Great Wall of China…
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Islam in China

THE MUEZZIN sounds the evening call to prayer. White skullcaps glint in the fading brightness of the setting sun as the faithful make their way into the mosque. The shush of whispered Salaam Alaikums, fills the hall. Outside, the mosque's minarets stretch up into the sky; a single crescent moon decorates the top of the…
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Damming Spree

SANDWICHED between the towering Jade Dragon and Haba Snow Mountains in the northwestern part of China's Yunnan province, Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the world's deepest river gorges. Here about 1,500 kilometres upstream from the Three Gorges Dam, the Jinsha river (as the Yangtze is known in its upper reaches) thunders its way through…
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