A bright activist lost in a blind system

Posted February 20, 2007 by nickjin2001
Categories: My eyes

(Cheng Guangcheng)

It was an unforgettable year for Chinese people. With a forthcoming golden pig year, a soaring stock market with people’s high expectation and dazzling preparations for the Olympics, China is attracting the whole world’s attention.

Unfortunately, the Lunar New Year is not a festival for everyone, at least not for Chen Guangcheng and his family. A feature article in last week’s Time reminded me of this Chinese blind activist, who was sentenced to four years and three months in prison last September.

As a self-schooled legal activist, Chen was a representative role at the forefront of a growing civil rights movement who drew international attention to human rights issues in rural areas. Last August, after talking to Time about the forced abortion cases he investigated in Linyi County, Shangdong Province, the authorities started harassing him.

In April 2006, Chen was named by Time as “one of the 100 people most influential in shaping our world,” alongside Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier, who was also ranked in the list.

But such a story only brings to light the sharp differences of China’s speedy development. When people were cheering for the Premier’s successful African journey, it was difficult for them to hear those alternative voices, especially in rural areas, where lack of legal knowledge is still the main obstacle preventing individuals from claiming their legitimate rights.

As a blind legal activist, Chen Guangcheng was a rare voice in China’s vast rural areas. But for him, there is still a long way to go, not only in darkness, but also in a blind system.


China: learning to invest in peace

Posted February 13, 2007 by nickjin2001
Categories: My eyes

 (Picture from Xinhu News Agency)

Can China build, not only the pipelines and roads, but also the peace in Africa? That was the question posed in last week’s Economist.

It is not an easy task for Hu Jintao, China’s president, on his eight-nation tour of Africa. Following last November’s Sino-African festival in Beijing, Mr Hu’s latest visit is definitely a good chance for the hungry dragon to grab more from Africa, rather than the headachy issues such as human rights or internal peace.

China, of course, has been good for all in many ways in Africa. Despite building roads, railways and powers stations, it also provides scholarships and helps in training the local engineers. All looks so familiar, if compared with Mao’s China fifty years ago, when China was the pioneer in the “third world” with great credit.

Today, however, China has turned out to be a typical example of the “realistic diplomacy”. It ordered Boeing aircrafts to ease the American Congress; it hosted African leaders in Beijing, including those who still have the relations with Taiwan; it even sternly criticized North Korea, its firm alliance (at least during the past fifty years), for Kim Jong il’s hazard nuclear programme. Mr Hu’s gesture provides a hint: the country’s interests are much more important than the ideology.

With a billion dollar investment, undoubtedly, Africa’s peace is a critical element of China’s sustaining development. The tragedy in Darfur, for instance, is completely a new challenge to Mr Hu, but also a great chance for China to show its muscle in Africa.

As an emerging superpower, the honour and the profit are both important to China. But how to balance the interests and the reputation is still a puzzle for the chewing dragon.

Lonely this Christmas

Posted December 15, 2006 by nickjin2001
Categories: Magazine-Story


Not a good choice for Christmas Eve

Headline: Lonely this Christmas

Standfirst: Christmas is a season full of happiness, but for some people, it can turn out to be a period of loneliness. 

Brief Story:

Christmas, the major celebration during the year is creeping closer. For most of the British students, Christmas means the holidays spent with their family. However, Christmas can turn out to be the most desolate period for some people: the international students in the university, for example. 

Of course, due to people’s different religions and background, there is no reason for everyone to celebrate this Christian festival. But the empty campus and the closed stores bring only one thing to the international students stay here – loneliness. Perhaps there is nothing more awful in life than feeling alone at Christmas. 

Cardiff University hosts over 3000 international students from over 100 countries throughout the year. Most of the European students will return home for the holidays, while many others, especially those who are from other continents, chose to stay here to save the money and time. 

“I don’t have enough money and time,” says Siyuan Zhang, a Chinese student studying a PhD in Biology, who has spent two Christmases in Cardiff, “I miss home, my wife and child, but the air ticket costs six hundred pounds, I can’t afford it. What’s more important, I have got a lot of research work to do.” 

When asked how he will spend Christmas Eve, he said:” nothing special, maybe cook and have a dinner with my Chinese friends, then spend the time on line.

Culture and the language gap turn out to be another question related to this issue. A report published last year by the Council for International Education (UKcosa), indicates this problem. As the largest national groups on campus, the majority of Chinese students spend the leisure time with their Chinese friends, and they fail to establish relationships with British students. According to the finding of the survey which covers 5000 Chinese students across the UK, “only 15% of Chinese students said they had UK friends”.

And so, for these international students, the Christmas vacation is often stuck in their tiny bedrooms. Enjoying the festival season with local people is simply not an option. 

“We are trying our best to make these international students feel at home during Christmas,” says Revd. Dr. Lorraine Cavanagh in her letter to all the international students, who organizes the annual Christmas Day party in Cardiff University, “just as I did last year, any students who find themselves alone in Cardiff that day are welcome.”

Another good choice for the international students is the host family. Spending the Christmas Eve with local British people and their families could be the best memory for a student studying in the UK. Cultural differences and national traditions provide a lot of conversational topics around dinner the table. Meanwhile, the host families can learn a great deal about another country and the alternative festive celebrations.

“Loneliness is the greatest challenge, but it also can be your best friend during that period,” said Shan Wu, a Chinese student who has finished her study in Cardiff University. Studying abroad can be exciting and fantastic, it can be daunting and tiresome as well, which depends on your choice. (515 words)

The big winter event is coming back

Posted November 16, 2006 by nickjin2001
Categories: Magazine-Story

Headline: The big winter event is coming back
Teaser:      New taste, different experience

Winter wonderland, the annual big season event for people living in Cardiff, is creeping closer. From the middle of November, Cardiff will welcome this winter party for the sixth year.

130,000 litres of frozen water, a 880 square meters ice pad, some 100 Christmas trees and nearly 15,000 colourful lightbulbs will create a fantastic atmosphere in front of Cardiff City Hall.

Santa’s Grotto is a new attraction this year. The grotto is a 30ft tree-shaped structure, open from November 16 to Christmas Eve, where children and families can visit the man himself and receive a small gift.

“It must be interesting and attractive,” said Brian Harrison, who works at the ice pad, “We had been looking for the right person to play Santa since September and finally found him, and the Grotto is well decorated, you won’t be disappointed”

For some people, the newcome international students, the ice rink is the most attractive aspect. Some of them have never seen a real ice rink before.

Anderson Chyke, a Nigerian student studying MBA in Cardiff University, said: “I would buy a ticket, the ice rink is really amazing. I never thought I would see a real ice rink here in Cardiff. You know it’s so hot in Nigeria, ice skating is a faraway dream for most of the people there.”

However, students coming from north China described the winter wonderland as a “tiny toy box”. “I did skating on the freezing river when I was in China. It (this ice rink) looks a bit funny,” said Min Fu, a new postgraduate student in Cardiff Business School. But I would still join the skating game if the ticket price is reasonable. This is a big festival in Cardiff, I won’t miss it.”

Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland has been voted the best regional open-air ice rink in the UK. It was estimated nearly 250,000 skaters have taken to the ice in the past five years. This year, the rink remains the focus of skaters and spectators.

“Cardiff is the best place to celebrate such a winter festival,” said David Hodge, Marketing Director of bmibaby, sponsors of the open air ice rink, “With regular maintenance, this ice rink could accommodate thousands of people.”

“What’s more important, Cardiff’s warm winter is attractive for people from other areas,” he added.

Furthermore, the wet Welsh weather could not stop people visiting Cardiff Winter Wonderland this year. The event has teamed up with the National Museum of Wales to ensure that even if it does rain, people could still watch the ice age workshop in National Museum.

Although this workshop is free for children, booking is essential due to its popularity.

For further information of Cardiff Winter Wonderland, please visit the official website: http://www.cardiffswinterwonderland.com/

Now the winter big event is coming back, so get your skates on!

(480 words)

Story pitch

Posted November 8, 2006 by nickjin2001
Categories: Magazine-Story

1. What is the story?

The annual Cardiff winter wonderland is coming back soon, as a traditional festival in Cardiff, now it is the sixth year. Anything fresh this year? What were people’s opinion about it? As a newcomer who has no experience of skating, what he should prepare.

2. Why tell it?

For the newcomers of Cardiff, the international students, for example,this winter wonderland could be a great festival for them. As some of them have never seen the ice pad before, skating could be rally fantastic. So let us give some useful information to them.

3. How am I going to do it?

I will search useful information from the propagand (official website, local news,  etc), also do some interview of the people who joined the festival last year, ask their feeling about that.

There are three main parts in :

1. The fresh news this year, what things could be different this year.

2. Interview: senior students, local people, newcomers

3. Advices and some useful tips.

Picture of Gregynog

Posted November 7, 2006 by nickjin2001
Categories: My eyes

Some of the pictures I took in Gregynog, wish you enjoy: )

  That is Sophia : )


I love the sheep there, uh…though they look stupid

Picture, not painting  

   It was really cold outside in the moring…


Nearly everyone was lost in this house…



 Ho ho, I drew this for my girlfriend        

  One of my favourite


Magical Powder in Chinese Food

Posted October 22, 2006 by nickjin2001
Categories: Magazine-Food

Headline:    Magical Powder in Chinese Food 

Teaser:      That makes Chinese food delicious People who have been to Chinese restaurant often want to know how Chinese could make food so delicious. This magical powder, chicken bouillon, is one of the reasons why Chinese food is so palatable.  

 As an upgrade of monosodium glutamate, which is criticized harmful to health, chicken bouillon now is the main condiment being used in Chinese restaurant. Natural, cheap and effective make chicken bouillon the first choice of Chinese chef. 

“Different from the curry source, chicken bouillon is mainly distilled from chicken. You can not tell why it makes meal delicious, but it works,” says Wenguang Hu who runs Eastern Chinese Supermarket. “Just drop a little into the meal, it becomes tasty!” 

 If you want to taste the magical power of this powder, go to the Chinese supermarket. (129 words)

Eastern Chinese Supermarket

26-26c Tudor St,

Riverside Cardiff

South Glamorgan,
CF11 6AH

029 2039 7148