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Sunday, November 28, 2010


Gwyneth Harold Davidson,
Imagine a seven-minute Caribbean slot on China Central Television's (CCTV
) December 31 variety show where Jamaica Cultural Development Commission 2010 World Reggae Dance Champions, Anonymous, open for the Soca Queen Destra who is joined by entertainer, Beenie Man, in Caribbean 'fashion-over-style'.
Caribbean public relations professional, Colin Wiltshire, shares a moment with presenters at CDTV in Chengdu, China's Western Capital. The station is currently building 50 additional television studios to deliver content to attract an audience that demands a greater variety of programmes.

Unlike the Chinese New Year gala, the December 31 show is a huge television event that features foreign entertainers. Media is where the Caribbean can use the performing arts to attract the attention of Chinese consumers and open the door wider for trade.
According to China Daily, CCTV is the leading broadcaster in China with an audience of 1.2 billion across seven of China's top-10 television channels. Like all Chinese media, CCTV is state-owned, but advertising revenue plays a significant role in programming decisions.

Exposing Caribbean culture on Chinese websites is also not to be overlooked. The English departments of the Beijing-based news organisations China.org and Radio China, encourage Caribbean journalists to become correspondents and opinion writers, providing an opportunity for Caribbean content to be more available to a Chinese audience. This also overcomes a regional dearth of Chinese-speaking writers, agents and entrepreneurs. A report filed by a St Lucian journalist a few days following the recent devastation by Hurricane Tomas was carried by China.org.

Chinese broadcasters are also expanding into our media markets and will need to attract our viewership. Professor Tian Zhihui of the Communication University of China told Caribbean journalists participating in the Professional Programme for Journalists from Caribbean Countries in Beijing last October, that in 2003, China made a great leap towards making their media more prominent around the world.

Private company
"At the moment, the Chinese government would not allow any private company to come. And, what's more, the Chinese government would like to go out to invest money in the foreign media companies. The Government now has invested 900 billion yuan to explore the overseas market," Professor Tian added.
In the region, Suriname Chinese Television is already two years old and Professor Tian said that many more will emerge in Latin America within the next decade. It was announced in April that CCTV, already available on Jamaican cable, had indicated a strong interest in starting a radio and television station in Jamaica as a way to deepen appreciation between the cultures.
Professor Tian Zhihui of the Communication University of China says that the Government encourages officials to blog as a way to have more access with the public. Currently, Internet penetration in China is 31.8%.

Professor Tian said that although China filters content on the Internet available to its citizens, the Internet has had an undeniable impact in helping to advance openness in China. She quoted the China Internet Network Information Centre's, 2010 Statistical Report, that in June 2010 there were 420 million net citizens in China and 277 million using Internet on their mobile phones. A clear indication of the impact of the Internet is the adoption of the Chinese version of the Access to Information Act in May 2008.

Professor Tian says now public officials, including police officers, are encouraged to blog and be a part of the online conversations as a way to be in closer touch with their communities and social partners.
Chinese web-application developers currently benefit from an environment where they only compete against each other. The best of their products in online shopping services, social networking, music downloading and blogging thrive and support their domestic market. Caribbean content, again, can make a mark here if the correct market links are made to place them where Chinese consumers go online. Jamaican music has, for some time, benefited from Japanese entrepreneurs maintaining an online presence in their markets.

Expansion into global broadcasting and growth of Chinese domestic Internet is an opportunity for Caribbean content to find a space in China. Their media seek intriguing material for a public that desires to know the best of the world. The Internet flattened the globe, let us set sail and let our intangible cultural treasures attract trade with the East.

Gwyneth Harold is a journalist. Feedback may be sent to columns@gleanerjm.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Living Displays In Chengdu, The Land of Abundance

Living Displays in Chengdu, The Land of Abundance

October 25, 2010
From the subtle to the spectacular, floral displays feature prominently in the city of Chengdu, the leading city in China’s Sichuan province traditionally called The Land of Abundance. Their bounty comes from the clear waters of the Minjiang river which has irrigated their fields and quenched their thirst for thousands of years. A portion of the water is used to grow the flowers that decorate their city in spectacular displays.


The Western China International Expo in October 2010 was a perfect opportunity to use floral displays as billboards to promote the event to the world.

Potted annual flowers set in massive frames constructed up to two stories high, fully represented the province’s natural abundance. Chengdu has what has been called a sub-tropical climate, humid and cool for most of the year. The small gentle annuals grown for public displays include petunias, marigolds, poinsettias and chrysanthemums, flowers that are also widely grown Jamaica.

In addition to the living billboards, the city has growing floral arrangements placed along bare patches of grey pavement, and also in what would otherwise be monotonous green verges. This gives colour and life to spaces used by pedestrians and motorists who are travelling at the street level. Curbside planter boxes featuring poinsettia and Phalaenopsis orchids were a delightful combination. We spotted the croton whose leaves provided an exciting multicolour mosaic when placed within solid blocs of colour, a plant that is perhaps overlooked in Jamaican growing arrangements?

Although not in Chengdu, these massive floral displays were but merely a smaller version of the massive floral fountain in Tiananmen Square in the centre of the capital, Beijing. At night the display is lit, and if you visit Beijing during the National Day celebrations you will catch a spectacular lazer light show. Caribbean Eye On China did not see this on our trip, which means that a return visit must be carefully timed. 

Beijing, A Capital of Roses

Beijing, A Capital of Roses

October 24, 2010

Roses, and especially red roses, are one of the symbols of Beijing as appreciated by its residents as any of the significant buildings that make the city famous. In the financial and business districts, glorious beds of red roses feature in verges along major roads - the ring roads - and are expertly tended in private and corporate gardens. In the warmer months, trellises all across the city display abundant blooms of rambling roses. Now it is Autumn, and the bushes are producing the last of their flowers before winter, still adding vibrancy to the cityscape.


Jostling with more than 19 million people and their demands for roads, houses and factories, the citizens of this ancient city take delight in gardens and growing plants. Fresh water is recognised as a precious limited resource in Beijing but the authorities seem to plan for the water needs of the gardens. The China Foreign Affairs University has a plant nursery and several small rose gardens on the property are maintained as precious residents. Visitors at the university’s lodging are reminded by a sign in their guest room, “The flowers in the garden need your water, please use less water.”

It is Autumn, and the rose is losing its blooming prominence. In its place the flower of Autumn, the Chrysanthemum is gaining prominence in showy arrangements that keep the colours of nature visible in this bustling international city. With ongoing care, the roses will survive the winter and break with new buds in the spring.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


"e-commerce platforms give SMEs an opportunity to showcase their products to Chinese markets and to find the right logistics that can place their commodities."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Facing The Test Of The Great Wall

Article by Taneka Thompson of The Tribune in the Bahamas

"For most of us, the Great Wall was on top of our list of must-see attractions. It seemed as if fortune was on our side as well because the trip was greeted by a sunny,
clear sky and chilly but not unbearable

Caribbean Journalists take on the Great Wall in Ocotber 2010

Facing The Test of the Great Wall

Nobel Award Equivalent To Supporting Crime - Says China

Article by Vernon Davidson, Jamaica Observer Executive Editor-Publications

"the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiobo was equivalent to violating the country's laws" - China Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Nobel Award Equivalent To Supporting Crime - Says China

Local and International journalists covering a
press conference at the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs
hosted by Ministry Spokesman  Zhaoxu Ma in October 2010

China's Economic Reform Model Won't Necessarily Work for Cuba: China Scholar

Article by Vernon Davidson, Executive Editor - Publications

China's Economic Reform Model Won't Necessarily Work for Cuba: China Scholar

Professor Chu Guangyou of the
China Foreign Affairs University in conversation with
journalist Earl Bousquet
Founder of the St Lucia/ China Friendship Association
in October 2010

One Child Policy Cut Population Growth, but China Starting To Worry

Jamaica Observer article by Executive Editor - Publications Division, Vernon Davidson

"...policy's long-term negative effects, namely an ageing population, self-centred children and the burden placed on single offspring to take care of elderly relatives have spurred renewed debate..."
One Child Policy Cut Population Growth, but China Starting to Worry

Vernon Davidson speaks with
Professor Heng Xiojun, Vice-President of the
China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) in
Beijing in October 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Say China Still A Developing Country

Article by Taneka Thompson, journalist from The Tribune in the Bahamas.

We Say China Still A Developing Country
Taneka Thompson of The Tribune in the Bahamas
participated in a professional programme for
Caribbean journalists in Beijing, China during October 2010.

A Woman's Place Is In The...

A Woman’s Place Is In The …..

Colin Wiltshire of Barbados shares a moment on the set of a Chengdu
television station with two female presenters.

Wu Yi is the Deputy Premier of the China Communist Party and ranked as one of the most influential women today in the world. She represents the optimism that her country has for its future and of the meaningful participation of women in every area of national life.

Amoy (not her real name) is a tour guide in Beijing who escorted participants in the Professional Journalism Workshop in the Professional Programme for Journalists from Caribbean Countries in October. At age 28, Amoy has benefitted from China’s boom. She drives her own car and bought a studio apartment for several thousand Yuan in an upscale area in Changpin, a small city in China. She lives in Beijing as that is where she does most of her work and shares the rent of an apartment there while she collects rent from her studio. Amoy has a cosmopolitan flair. She has travelled abroad, her hair is professionally maintained and she dresses stylishly with quality garments.

This is a far cry from the experience of her parents. Amoy recalls stories that her parents told her of the 1980s where the total family spend of a month was no more than 50 Yuan. When her father got the news that his wife had a baby boy, he went out and bought fish, food they ate maybe once per year. The news of the birth was slightly wrong, the baby was a girl and not a boy. The Chinese preference for boy children influenced her parents to try again for a son, an offence when the one-child family planning policy came into force in 1980.

Despite the threat of punishment, Amoy’s mother went ahead with her second pregnancy and spent the gestation period dodging the government by living in different homes around their home city of Tianjin. Her cover story to the neighbours was that she moved out because she wanted a divorce from her husband. Luckily, they had their wish of a baby boy. The government then confiscated their black and white television set and electric flashlight as the couple could not pay the 500 Yuan fine.

A few years later, Amoy’s mother became pregnant again with a third child, a girl. By the time the government caught up with her, she was already five months pregnant, but they instructed her to visit the hospital and the pregnancy was terminated. Amoy said that the government would not give such an instruction today, but the current fine is upwards of 100,000 Yuan.

Recalling that one of China’s major challenges is its overpopulation, Amoy says that her parents never held bitter feelings against the government, but that her mother was very traditional and loved the idea of a family with children.

A woman and child enjoy a morning in Tiananmen Square
During Amoy’s coming-of-age, employment and educational opportunities in China increased rapidly and tens of millions of persons have been lifted out of poverty. Amoy said that women are doing especially well in today’s China. She says that many times women apply themselves very hard to their studies and careers and do better than their male counterparts. She enjoys equal pay and has equal opportunities for employment. In tribute to women, the government of China declared International Women’s Day as a public holiday for women only. Amoy also jokes that her friends now prefer to have a girl baby for their only child, as parents are expected to buy their sons a house so that he can take a wife – shades of a modern-day bride price.

As a graduate with a Degree in Tourism Management, Amoy enjoyed the privilege of being selected as an official liaison for corporate VIPs during the Beijing Olympics; her talent and professionalism were recognised! We asked Amoy about her dreams for the future, surely the sky is the limit.

She leaned close to the Flair reporter and levelled a steady gaze, “I want to be a housewife. Get married and have children.”

Although China is close to relaxing its one-child policy, she will not be allowed to have more than one child as she is a member of the Han ethnic majority and also that she herself is not an only child. Amoy says that she accepts the restrictive family planning policy as necessary for her country’s long term success. She however, has one major advantage towards her dream. China is unique as it is one of the few places where the population has more young men than women. The United Nations said that in 2005 there were 106.8 males to 100 females in China, one of the highest sex ratio imbalances in the world. This is good for Amoy as there are more eligible young men for marriage than ever before, making a good marriage match a very viable option for her.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello World - Blog from the Dominican Republic

Political Scientist, Luis Gonzalez, from the Dominican Republic created, World Nihao (Hello World), a blog that is dedicated to "A Wave of Society, Culture, Politics and Economy of China." Written in Spanish but blog apps translate to English. Stop by for his insights on China's rise and growing influence in the region.

Reception desk for journalists at a Ministry of Finance building in Beijing.