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Jan 14, 2011

China’s first capsule hotel to open in Shanghai

By Royston Chan

SHANGHAI (Reuters Life!) – China’s first capsule hotel is set to open in Shanghai, targeting budget-conscious travelers in the country’s glitzy commercial capital — with rooms divided into different zones depending on snoring.

Capsule hotels, whose rooms have just enough space for sleeping and no more, were first started in Japan as a cheap way to house “salarymen” who worked too late or drank too hard to get home for the night. Today, they are low budget accommodation for travelers and renters alike.

Jan 12, 2011

Chinese manufacturers cash in on royal wedding

By Royston Chan

YIWU, China (Reuters Life!) – Britain may be on the other side of the world, but Chinese manufacturers are cashing in on the British royal wedding as they churn out tens of thousands of replica royal engagement rings.

Last November, Prince William and his beaming fiancee Kate Middleton showed off the blue sapphire ring, surrounded with diamonds, which had belonged to William’s mother, the late Princess Diana.

Jan 7, 2011

Parents demand answers in China lead poisoning

GAOHE, China (Reuters) – Parents of children poisoned by lead in eastern China are demanding answers and compensation from the government after the country’s latest incident of heavy metal pollution made more than 200 sick.

Authorities in Gaohe in eastern Anhui province have closed two battery plants blamed for the poisoning just a stone’s throw from residences in contravention of planning laws, according to state media.

Dec 15, 2010

Middle class dream fades for China white collar workers

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Shanghai native Wu Xiaodong has a solid job as a human resource supervisor in a technology company and earns around 4000 yuan ($600) a month. But he is still single at 28 and lives with his parents.

“At this age, things we would be looking at would be marriage and children,” he said, adding that he is daunted by the costs of an apartment, a wedding, education for his future children and the price of medical care as his parents age.

Dec 9, 2010

China’s rags-to-richest village aims still higher

By Royston Chan

HUAXI VILLAGE, China (Reuters Life!) – A massive skyscraper under construction screams for attention, breaking the skyline above the rows of villa homes and picturesque tourist pagodas lining the streets of China’s richest village.

Huaxi, a booming market town of 36,000, is a capitalist success story despite decades of Communist control.

Dec 7, 2010

Chinese music talent school fuels superstar dreams

By Royston Chan

SHANGHAI (Reuters Life!) – A love for singing and a lust for stardom pushed 20-year-old Qian Yue to take a break from her university studies to learn music full time at the Lee Wei Song School of Music in Shanghai.

For almost a year, the cheerful Yunnan native from the southwestern city of Kunming has been taking a combination of voice, dancing, and keyboard lessons to fulfill her dream of becoming a singer, inspired by a recent flood of TV talent shows.

Nov 21, 2010

Thousands mourn victims of Shanghai apartment blaze

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Thousands gathered outside the charred frame of a 28-storey Shanghai apartment building on Sunday to mourn 58 people who died in Monday’s fire, which has been blamed on lax oversight and illegal work practices.

Tearful family members of the victims began arriving at first light, laying flowers and wreaths before portraits of their deceased loved-ones.

Nov 7, 2010

Guests party while Chinese artist under house arrest

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – By confining prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to his home in Beijing on Sunday during a party at his Shanghai studio, authorities inadvertently took centre stage in the sort of performance art they had sought to block.

The host was absent, but more than 400 people turned up at the artist’s million-dollar studio a thousand kilometers (650 miles) away in suburban Shanghai to bid farewell to the structure that he was told by officials had been marked for demolition, purportedly for violating local land-use rules.

Oct 14, 2010

Going retro: roller disco enjoys revival in Shanghai

By Royston Chan

SHANGHAI, Jan 25 (Reuters Life!) – The world has moved on from rollerskating disco, that oh so 1980s fad immortalised in the film “Xanadu”, but in China, dancing on wheels is gaining speed thanks to the nation’s masses of migrant workers.

While wealthy executives in trend-setting Shanghai would never be seen indulging in something so passé, roller disco is the entertainment of choice for the tens of thousands of migrants working in low-paying jobs in China’s most expensive city.

Oct 14, 2010

The Obama aims to change Shanghai’s clubbing scene

By Royston Chan

SHANGHAI, April 27 (Reuters Life!) – Change is coming to Shanghai’s nightlife, thanks to Obama.

The U.S. president has yet again unofficially lent his name to a place of entertainment, this time The Obama Club, one of Shanghai’s largest entertainment venues which aims to revolutionise the city’s thriving clubbing scene.