Confinement is an ancient tradition that is still widely practiced in China today. Dating back to the Xihan dynasty some 2000 years ago, confinement literally means in Mandarin "sitting out the month". In practice, it's a set of very complex rules for women to care for themselves during the first month after giving birth.
Beijing has written a bill which, if passed, will allow Hong Kongers to vote for their own leader in 2017 - as long as the Communist party approves of the three candidates put forward. Hong Kong, gloriously and rightfully autonomous since it's release from Britain in the late nineties, was promised 50 years of making their own choices and rules. This bill undermines that promise.
If you're a traveller looking for something that takes a richer and more longitudinal approach; a business person or civil servant looking for insight beyond the usual Dos, Don'ts, honorifics, platitudes and rituals; a student of the humanities and social sciences wanting something more grounded in the world today; or a seasoned dinner party socialite and pub quiz pro looking for a global Zeitgeist to boost your social capital - then this is definitely the book for you. There's plenty to learn, it sinks in easily, and this is the sort of book that you'll find yourself marking-up and folding page corners on.
Scream at the Chinese. Scream at their savage customs until the veins bulge on your bloated, hypocrite head. Scream until your rage shatters the reformed Kievs in your freezer like glassware at an opera. Pause only to repackage your hatred into blinkers that obscure the double-standards of your own hideous morality.
China is still a contender for the title of 'Bitcoin capital of the world'. It's the centre of Bitcoin trading, it's a major miner of the currency and it's home to the largest number of Bitcoin wallets in the world. But what does that say about the state of Bitcoin worldwide if there is virtually no mainstream adoption of the currency in one of its leading territories? For Bitcoin evangelists, it's a depressing thought.
As a UK service exporter, I feel somewhat aggrieved. Overlooked and invisible. Despite the strong and strengthening performance of service sector exports, we are often perceived as the poor relation to manufacturers. Indeed the government usually refers to the service sector as 'invisible exports', quite apt when considering where the focus of current investment is placed.