Changing China

Giant on the move

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More on China’s ’08 generation

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The Beijing bureau today continued its look at China’s ’08 generation, 19 years after the crushing of the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and 64 days before the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Thousands of job seekers flock to a job fair in Tianjin municipalityRead Lucy Hornby’s piece about the challenges facing China’s college graduates here

 Pictures of aTianjin job fair by Vincent Du.

Tiananmen Square – June 4

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A young boy stands in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square after attending the flag raising ceremony at dawn

Tiananmen Square - June 4, 2008. 

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Pictures by David Gray. 

Nineteen years after the crushing of the pro-democracy protests and 65 days before the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games, check out Chris Buckley’s feature on  the ’08 generation and this video report on China’s new nationalism.

Beijing Bellies

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After a disarmingly cool Beijing spring, summer hit the Olympics host city like a hammer this past weekend, marking the psychological final stretch to the Games.Across the city, kites fill the skies, cold drink sales pick up and bicycle ice cream vendors pedal the streets and lanes to provide relief from the pounding heat.

But if there is anything that defines summer in China’s capital when the mercury rises, its the near ubiquitous outpouring of Beijing bellies.

A tale of two stadiums

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Evacuated people rest at a sports stadium which was turned into a temporary shelter in MianyangThis weekend, Beijing inaugurated the new Bird’s Nest Stadium with the “Good Luck Beijing” track and field event. I attended less than 24 hours after covering the earthquake in Sichuan, and the contrast between sports and rubble was a little hard to digest.

The Bird’s Nest stadium, built for the Olympics, can seat 91,000 fans. The air flows through well, keeping it cool in the muggy Beijing summer. The seats are well-positioned, so the contestants can be seen easily. The screens are visible, the sound-system clear, the lighting strong but not harsh.

Long March to the Bird’s Nest

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Workmen walk on the roof of Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium as the Good Luck Beijing China Athletics Open is being heldWatching athletics at the“Bird’s Nest” National Stadium is a dream for many Chinese people but it turned into nightmare for me last weekend.

We set off last Friday to see the titanic building and a relatively low-key athletics meeting mainly contested by young Chinese athletes.

The earthquake and the Olympics

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A soldier carries out relief work as a Beijing Olympics countdown board is seen in the background after an earthquake in BeichuanThe tenor of China’s Olympic year changed dramatically over the past two weeks.

What had been a building crescendo of celebration and national pride turned into an outpouring of grief and support for the earthquake-hit province of Sichuan.

Disaster in Sichuan

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Earthquake damage in Dujiangyan

I was one of the first foreign reporters on the scene after a devastating earthquake hit the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan on May 12.

It all seemed so normal when I arrived in the provincial capital Chengdu, some 12 hours after the 7.9 magnitude tremor hit, that I thought maybe the area had got off lightly. But heading in the hard hit town of Dujiangyan, just north of Chengdu, two hours after arriving in Sichuan, I realised how bad the situation was.

Nick (& Mark & Dave), the torch and Everest – Day 13

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rtr209tx_comp.jpgIf the word around camp is anything to go by, the final assault on the summit of Everest will begin in the early hours of Thursday morning. Journalists and accompanying officials have spent much of the day taking souvenir photos and snapping up post cards at the “world’s highest post office”.

The rumours would appear to be based on nothing more than collective will (or hysteria, perhaps).

Nick (& Mark & Dave), the torch and Everest – Day 6

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You’ll never guess who I met at Base Camp.

After a quick stop to watch the monks and nuns at the Rongpo monastery at prayer this morning, we finally got up to Base Camp proper this afternoon.

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It was pretty bleak. Basically, a cluster of tents on an exposed rocky flat. It made us feel almost grateful for our humble cabins back at the media centre.

Nick, the torch and Mt Everest – Day 4

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More negotiations over whether we should delay our departure for base camp kept us off the road for an extra couple of hours and stretched the patience of the Chinese journalists.

All was forgotten, though, a couple of hours later when got our first real look at Everest from the top of a pass.

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