Tag Archive: China

A Taste of Vietnam: Tasty tea is a ‘miracle in a box’

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The 2nd September marks National Independence Day in Vietnam, celebrating the date when the country claimed its independence and sovereignty from France and Japan.

Marked by a national holiday and a day of celebrations, there’s now no better excuse to try some of Vietnam’s speciality teas.

Ask people where the origin of Britain’s most famous drink is and you’re likely to get a reply of either China or India.

Whilst it’s probably true that the first cultivated tea came from China, before the Brits set up farms in India, it is believed the oldest tea trees in the world are from Vietnam where local Hmong people have been picking the leaves of wild trees for thousands of years.

Today, an innovative company called Natur Boutique is helping put Vietnam back on the map for its teas; showing not only why it produces some of the best green tea in the world, but also how we can benefit from some of the country’s other tea drinking traditions.

jpg artichoke tea (375x400)So boil up the teapot and tuck into a steaming cup of Vietnamese tea.

Artichoke tea is a traditional drink of the Lam-Dong highland region in Vietnam, where an abundance of artichokes are grown due to the area’s relatively temperate and mild year-round climate.

Often drunk in restaurants as an aperitif, the cuppa is refreshing, revitalising, delicious and has a pleasing scent.

Natur Boutique’s version, produced traditionally in Vietnam, is the only organic artichoke tea available in the UK.

Drunk not only for its unique taste, the artichoke extract contained within has been shown to have the potential to soothe IBS symptoms, making the drink popular with the millions of people suffering with the condition.

It’s also fantastic for clearing up the skin. Scientists have looked at the effects that cynaropicrin - a bioactive compound in artichoke - has on skin cells and they found two main effects; reduced inflammation and lowering of the production of oxygen free radicals.

Nature Boutique’s Organic Artichoke Tea is available in Holland & Barrett and independent health stores. For further information visit www.naturboutique.co.uk

Please note: Pregnant and breast feeding women should seek advice from their doctors before using artichoke extracts. Artichoke leaf extract should not be taken in the presence of gallstones or other bile duct occlusion, due to its bile stimulating effects.

Always consult your doctor or health advisor before using herbal tea products, especially if pregnant, lactating or using specific medication or suffering from a medical condition.


China bans fasting in Ramadan

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Civil servants, students and teachers in a predominantly Muslim region of China have been told they are not allowed to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The customary ban, which also orders restaurant to keep normal opening hours, was imposed by the Chinese Communist party which is officially atheist.

Despite 58 per cent of the population in the Xinjiang region calling themselves Uighur Muslims, they

A notice on a government website in the central Xinjiang city of Korla read as: "Party members, cadres, civil servants, students and minors must not fast for Ramadan and must not take part in religious activities.

A notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in the county added: “Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadan.”

The move, which has been slammed by rights groups around the world, has been around for a number of years.

Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, said it only adds to ethnic tensions already existent in China.

“China's goal in prohibiting fasting is to forcibly move Uighurs away from their Muslim culture during Ramadan,” he said.
“Policies that prohibit religious fasting are a provocation and will only lead to instability and conflict.”


Beggar on board: Teen manages to stowaway on long-haul flight

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FALSE INFORMATION: Social media site Sina Weibo allegedly spread misinformation to its users which sparked viral hashtags about begging in Dubai

FALSE INFORMATION: Social media site Sina Weibo allegedly spread misinformation to its users which sparked viral hashtags about begging in Dubai

A teenager from China - who stowed away on an Airbus passenger jet flying from his home country to Dubai – decided on the daring feat because he wanted to start a new life as a ‘professional beggar’.

The 16-year-old boy, known simply as Xu, said he did it because he had heard online that beggars in Dubai could make 470,000 yuan (around £49,300) a month.

He had managed to remain undetected onboard a huge Emirates A380 plane in Shanghai - hiding away in the cargo hold for the entire nine hour journey, until he was discovered and arrested by Dubai police when he reached his destination.

China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported that a translator appointed by prosecutors said that the teen had jumped over a fence at Shanghai airport and climbed into the cargo hold while a security guard's back was turned.

His story has sparked debate in China over misinformation in the media - as Xu is believed to have read on social media that beggars in Dubai could make nearly £5,000 a month.

Average annual wages in China are around 5,000 Yuan (approximately £3,000).

It is believed the youngster was inspired by the trend and decided to take a stab at the great aeroplane adventure.

A hashtag on a Twitter-like website called Sina Weibo - one of the most popular social media sites in China – has since gone viral saying: #DubaiBeggarsMake470000YuanMonthly.

Some users praised Xu for his bravery and moxie – others slammed the media for spreading rumours about the riches that Dubai had to offer.

The translator confirmed that the teen had ‘risked his life’ sneaking into Dubai.

The translator added that Xu, from Bazhong in the Sichuan province, had accepted his arrest because he'd heard that Dubai prisoners were “treated very well”.

The Chinese consulate in Dubai has sent staff members to meet with him.

A statement by the airline said: “Emirates can confirm that on 27th May, a stowaway was found in the cargo hold of flight EK303 from Shanghai to Dubai.”


China’s ‘goal’ is in sight

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SUPERPOWER: Members of the Chinese national football team pose for a group picture in 2011

SUPERPOWER: Members of the Chinese national football team pose for a group picture in 2011

Country aims to become global force in football by 2050

China wants to become a ‘world football superpower’ by 2050 and aims to get 50 million of China's 1.357 billion children and adults kicking the ball by 2020.

Another aspiration the country has is by 2020, they would like to have at least 20,000 football training centres and 70,000 pitches in place.

President Xi Jingping is a big football fan and has said previously that he wants China to win the World Cup over the next 15 years.

While China shines at the Olympics and Paralympics, the country has only every competed in one edition of the world’s biggest football match - in 2002 - but the Chinese Football Association is planning to do a lot more than just qualify over the next few years.

The men's team was number 81 in the world in a ranking released by International Federation of Football Association, also known as FIFA, on April 7th, 15 places higher than the rankings from late March.

The rise was aided by a 2-0 victory over Qatar in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match, a victory that helped the squad narrowly avoid elimination.

The women's team was ranked No. 12 in the world by FIFA as of March 25th.

The plan was published by the Chinese Football Association (in Chinese) on Monday.

It sets out short, medium and long-term targets, including ensuring there is one football pitch for every 10,000 people by 2030.

The men's football team should become one of the best in Asia, while the female football team should be ranked as a world-class team, by 2030, the plan said.

By 2050, the report added, China should be ‘a first-class football superpower’ that ‘contributes to the international football world’.

The documents states that in the next five years, China will produce two to three first class football clubs. The number of registered referees is expected to double in the next five years.

The sport has been hit with corruption in recent years, after 33 players and officials were banned in 2013 for match-fixing.


China relax one-child policy

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BABIES: Chinese parents will be allowed two babies if they comply with new state laws

BABIES: Chinese parents will be allowed two babies if they comply with new state laws

China’s controversial policy, which restricts families across the country to just one child each, is set to be relaxed in the coming months.

New plans, to allow parents who were an only child to have two children, will be introduced in the country according to state media agency, Xinhua.

The initiative came following a weekly meet of the Communist party, with leaders believed to be willing to budge on the previously strict rules.

Other reforms include the abolition of ‘re-education through labour’ camps and moves to boost the role of the private sector in the economy.

Though the scale of the Chinese leadership's new social and economic reforms are vast, affecting millions across China, none of these changes should come as a shock. Many have been discussed in the Chinese state media in the past, and many have already been test-driven on smaller scales in different parts across the country.

For example, in some Chinese cities for the past few years, couples who are both single children have been allowed the option of having a second child. This latest change will allow couples, whereby only one partner is a single child, to have two children.

Similarly, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to abolish the much-hated "reeducation through labour" system when he came to power earlier this year. Quietly, officials have been winding down the system over the past few months.