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Tiers for Fears
By Jack Cameron

Rising Up, Rising Down, and the Folly of Rankings

According to a “comprehensive business index” formulated by CBN Weekly, Hangzhou “is now recognized as a super city with comprehensive capacity and potential.” Fourteen other municipalities are in fact now recognized as "new first-tier cities" including Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Xi'an, Chongqing, Qingdao, and Dalian.

But recognized by whom, exactly?

And, like: So what?


DON’T MIND THE GAP. SHOW US YOUR UNIQUE GLOW!
Congratulations, Hangzhou. You are now a “new first-tier” city. Officially. Well, not really “officially.” It depends entirely on your definition of official. And as for the legitimacy or plausibility of the new designation – well, that depends entirely on how one qualifies “first-tier.” And how one defines ‘city.’

CBNweekly [sic] ranked 400 Chinese cities other than traditional metropolises like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen across 10 categories including brand density; number of premium brands entering; GDP; per capita income; number of colleges and universities; number of companies ranking on Fortune's Global 500; and airport throughput.

On the basis of the 10 individual rankings, CBNweekly has calculated the comprehensive business index for each city.

In China, when people want to rate a city's development level, the first consideration would be its administrative level. However, in accordance with the international understanding, a city in the modern sense of the word is a product of commercial and industrial development and a land for capital, talent, goods and information exchange (1).

Chengdu, Nanjing, and Xi’an made the (new) premiere league. The same maths also makes Ningbo (Zhejiang) and Hefei (Anhui) “new second-tier cities”.

The New Atlantases
The word “new” is essential to these new titles, and indeed CBNweekly's proclamation is so new that the American Chamber of Commerce seems not to have had time to adjust its website:

While various criteria exist for defining a particular tier, the tiers of cities in China usually refer to key characteristics of the city, including its economic development, provincial GDP, advanced transportation systems and infrastructure, and historical and cultural significance. China’s first-tier cities usually refer to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen which make “The Big 4.” Second-tier cities include Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen. Third-tier cities include Hangzhou, Chongqing among others (2).

On the subject of tiers and rankings generally, the New Zealand-China Trade Association website offers a little analysis of the matter:

We often hear of China’s first or second or third tier cities, yet what actually makes a city tier? The terms are so often used, yet there is actually no official formula for determining what tier a city falls in. Instead, everyone makes up their own rules. There are a few common views on which Chinese cities fall in which tier, often pointing to population, development of services and infrastructure, and the cosmopolitan nature of the city. First tier cities are naturally the fewest and easiest to find common ground on. China’s four city municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing) are candidates as a clearly-defined group of leading cities. Yet this group doesn’t hold up in terms of the development and stature criteria mentioned above, and in their stead a different quartet is often put forward: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – four huge metropolises with well-developed property markets.

It becomes much more trickier [sic] when we move down to second tier cities (3).

Although the NZCTA item states that “A China consumer study published in 2009 by consulting firm McKinsey, for example, recognized the limitations of using city tiers”, Business Week reported last month that many [luxury retailers] are focusing on China’s second-tier and third-tier cities — which McKinsey Global Institute predicts will be home to 45 percent of China’s middle-class and high-income earners by 2022 (4).” Thinking in terms of tiers – or in just in case it’s not exactly the same thing: generating metrics by which to ranking Chinese cities - seems a difficult habit to break.



Given Business Week’s angle on the arrival in Chengdu of Lane Crawford, and AmCham’s caveat (“Don’t let city tier rankings restrict your business outlooks. Even third-tier cities have populations in the millions and represent a promising potential market for your business”), one wonders what, exactly, motivated CBNweekly’s analysis, what need it fulfils, and what value they (or anyone else) see in its announcement. So-called “second-tier” cities are supposed to be where all the action is these days, and where all heavy-hitters want now to be; and so while the tag might be good for metropolitan self-esteem (the Marco Polo thing is a bit stale), but it might be the worse branding idea since New Coke.

MUMFORD AND SUMS
Human beings have been creating entrepots, flocking to them, gathering in them, and building walls around them for a very long time. There’s nothing new in distinguishing cities from non-cities, urbanites from perioikoi (5), and citizens from non-citizens. The differences among cities, and between cities and non-cities, did not escape antiquity’s notice.

The city as a purely physical fact has been subject to numerous investigations. But what is the city as a social institution? The earlier answers to these questions, in Aristotle, Plato, and the Utopian writers from Sir Thomas Moore to Robert Owen, have been on the whole no more satisfactory than those of more systematic sociologists (6).

Mumford says that “in its various and many-sided life, in its opportunities for social-disharmony and conflict, the city creates drama; the suburb lacks it.”

Mumford, we suppose, had never personally witnessed the social-disharmony and drama at a Lane Crawford sale in a suburban mall; but we’re willing to let that slide, if only because we like his characterization of a city as “a related collection of purposive groups and associations,” and the way the name ‘Mumford’ feels in our mouth and throat when we say it.

For us, there is an immediate, unfortunate and possibly reprehensible tendency to read “first-tier” either as “cosmopolitan” or “international.” There is also an equally spontaneous and no less prejudicial inclination to equate “cosmopolitan” with the adjectives civilized, humane, tolerant, and open-minded, and “international” with things like: the gentility of a city’s native and imported inhabitants; the efficiency of public transportation; the degree of refinement (or threshold of crudity) of the average driver in the municipal livery fleet; how many good Indian restaurants there are, and whether any can make a good mango lassi; the likelihood that any given member of the uniformed constabulary will on any given day be wearing white socks; the likelihood that simple municipal ordinances for the communum bonum and salus populi are consistently and non-arbitrarily enforced; and whether there is more than one place to buy a half-way decent baguette. But we know better (7).

METRICS AND METICS
However fun (or silly) or thought-provoking (or bigotry-revealing) such metrics may be, they share the fault of applying to indigenous conditions an alien yardstick. Metrics like these seem also to conflate and jumble-together quantifiables with qualifiables – facts and values, or, facts and the preferences based in part on values. One can count airports and reckon their cargo throughput, tally GDP and FDI, and map 4G bandwidth coverage as easily as one can take a headcount of Uniqlo outlets and Bentley dealerships. That’s exactly what Esther Fung and company did in their Wall Street Journal ditty “What Makes a Tier-2 City in China? Count the Starbucks”. Seemingly they too didn’t get the memo from CBNweekly:

What exactly differentiates a tier-two Chinese city from a tier-three city? Officially no one knows, but it might help to start by counting the Starbucks.

China has more than 600 cities, which are often categorized into four tiers. The government, industry experts and analysts all use this classification, but there is almost no agreement about which city belongs to which tier.

Unlike almost every other Chinese economic indicator, the government doesn’t have an official definition for the tiers. Even the country’s official statistics department—which uses the classification system but notes that it was started by the private sector—said it doesn’t have a definitive list (8).

One could of course count instead the number of Meters/bonwe stores, Geely lots, and milk tea kiosks, or the number of cops in tube socks, or the average distance between litter on the sidewalk and the nearest rubbish bin. Or the number of Tom Ford counters. Or the percentage of counterfeit product in the Tom Ford counters. The point is that whereas developmental markers directly related to commerce, industry, and infrastructure seem to support some deductions and a few solid inferences about other quantifiable data, clever metrics are at best playfully probabilistic. They make us grin because of the correlations they propose: high mean net-income correlates with lots of branded coffee shops that sell muffins and ciabatta bread sandwiches; coffee, muffins, and ciabatta bread sandwiches are Western foodstuffs; therefore, high mean net-income is an indicator of how Westernized (or: how non-prejudical against Western foodstuffs) a city’s residents are.

But it’s not that simple. Fun “Freakanomics”-style metrics also wink at values, standards of taste, and the trajectory of possible convergences upon those Western consumer-preferences we’re now in the habit of calling “global,” while hinting that the correlations might in fact be symptoms of deeply meaningful causal relationships. But there’s a world of difference between the market-penetration of a global Western brand, and the kind of value-thick and norm-rich “internationalism” and “cosmopolitanism” we think of when these two words come to mind or slip off the tongue.

CRAPACCINO
Take Greater Hangzhou, which has 38 Starbucks outlets. Not long ago we were smoking outdoors just beyond the threshold of a city-center Starbucks in which we were having a coffee. (Uncivilized and anti-social behavior. We note the possible hypocrisy.) Advancing with a brisk wobble from seating inside the establishment, Granny Liu pushed open the doors with her shoulder and raced outdoors, across the threshold, and down the steps, carrying her splay-legged grandchild by the underside of its knees. There, two meters from the Starbucks landing, Granny Liu aimed the toddler’s southernmost orifice at a clean spot on the pavement, and with a firm but gentle squeeze and bounce facilitated the latter’s discharge of a formidable, non-viscous pile of toffee-colored baby waste. Granny Liu’s flight plan to the door had actually taken her directly past the Starbucks restrooms. A minute or so later, the toddler’s mother, with a reassuring look of mortification upon her young face, came outside with a wad of paper towels in her hand, and made an admirable attempt to clean-up the mess. She then carried the soggy wad of discolored and despoiled paper towels back into Starbucks for deposit in the rubbish bin just inside the entrance. She did not opt for the trash can two meters away from where her child A-bombed a family of ants.

This is normal and SOP in our city, a “new first-tier city” with a Lamborghini dealership, the highest-grossing Lancome counter on Earth, and a pretty good Starbucks-to-Chipster ratio (9). One might be inclined to conclude that “first-tier” is therefore not a designation synonymous with “civilized” (said the public-smoker), whatever else the phrase purports to denote or intimate. But we have no fears for tiers. We are wondering in earnest, though, whether one should even use the word ‘city’ to refer to an administrative jurisdiction in which this sort of thing is de rigueur, the rule rather than the exception.

For a while now we’ve been publically pooh-poohing straight-faced claims that our adoptive city is in any meaningful sense “international”. But what makes, or would make, a city “international” anyway? Should we simply look for a certain density of shop-fronts for “global brands”, or retail outlets for imported luxury goods? Or should we consider instead the sales volume of whichever foreign brands have a retail presence in the city in question? Is a city more international for having four non-profitable GAPs, or for having one highly profitable GAP in which men strip in the retail area to try-on t-shirts and shoppers with kids are not discouraged by sales associates from allowing their children to piss in the potted plants?

Perhaps a city is “international” to the extent that it has a large and diverse non-native population -- long-term residents, or immigrants, or both, the majority of which contemplate themselves as legitimate stakeholders in the city, and are welcomed by the natives to think of themselves thus. But what should count as “a large population”? Shanghai is arguably China’s most “international city” on the mainland, and yet the roughly 173,000 resident foreigners there (out of +/-23 million) account for no more than three-quarters of one percent of the total population. So maybe we should instead measure the influence of non-native peoples upon the character of the city – say, the net effect of their presence upon indigenous folkways, mores, and practices, or, the extent to which the presence of non-natives results in a palpable cultural diversity and productive heterogeneity? Wow. Just try and create a formula for that.

The Metic
In this extraordinary society [5th-4thc BCE Athens], a peculiar but vitally important position was held by the resident aliens or metics. The so-called metoikoi were in fact a small but special sub-group… of a much larger group of free migrants or katoikoi. [T]hough the majority were Greeks from practically every part of Greece…, by the fourth century they included Thracians, Phrygians, Carians, Paphlagonians, Celts, Lydians, Syrians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Egyptians, Arabians, Scythians, and Persians. … The concentrated above all in Athens, the city which aspired to economic supremacy. … The anomaly was that they had no political rights: constitutionally, the polis was the state of the citizens, the politai, and no one else. Nor could they own land… [B]ut they had personal freedom, protection of the law, liberty of worship, and almost unlimited work opportunities.
                                                                           - Peter Hall (1998) Cities in Civilization, pp. 58-59


And so to the heart of the matter: what would any metric cooked-up especially for the sole purpose of rankings really establish? What would it really tell us about the character or quality of any given “related collection of purposive groups and associations”?

With respect to Occidental non-natives looking-in on Chinese cities – even when the observer is a well-adjusted and patriotic metic – evaluative descriptions, whether in terms of the presence of Western-trained doctors or the absence of vino verde, are in the final analysis bourgeois euphemisms for the adjective good. Concede that one point, and let it be Archimedean. Hangzhou is a “good city” in respect of this, but not so good in respect of that; Shanghai is a “great city” on account of X, but a pretentious overpriced hellhole on account of Y. Make a frank confessional of one’s private portfolio of priorities, and the devil with the rankings and qualifiers of others. Try and make a falsifiable proposition out of a statement like “Hangzhou is an international/cosmopolitan/first-tier (&c.) city”, and you’re back immediately to teasing-apart a tangle of objective facts and subjective sentiments --- so, why bother?

NOUN AND COUNTRY
Cities, by definition, have always tended to have more nouns than non-cities. Ur, Jericho, Babylon, Athens, Persepolis… Markets, bazars, harbors, quays, docks – where there is produce and trade, there are nouns. The quest for insulation and the desire for fortification end at last with decoration, public beautification, and private accumulation. Nouns billowing out of baskets and spilling out of gourds and amphorae; nouns hanging from hooks, hanging from earlobes; nouns dangling from wrists and hips, twisted into one’s coiffure, pinned to one’s cloak. Nouns traveling from East to West, West to East, in caravans; across seas, up and down rivers; nouns carried on poles, locked in chests, wrapped in leaves or skins. Nouns for sale. Nouns for rent. A city can have an abundance of blind, deaf, or mute beggars, but not merchants. The more nouns, the greater the mercantile dynamism and economic fecundity of a city. Strip a polis of its nouns, and it is a polis no more.

But of course, a bustling bazar and animated agora all presuppose one thing, the one noun sine qua non. People. Unless we contemplate a city as a hive – as some soulless collective of anonymous iterations, a colony of furtive hymenopterae - a city –proper is (as Mumford says in elegant understatement) an intentional aggregation of individuals. And it is through individuals that we should try to evaluate any flock or herd of human biomass --- intra or extra-mural.

So much for nouns. What, then, are the adjectives that matter most to most citizens, in contemplation of their chosen settlement --- their habitat? And what if anything are the citizens doing – purposefully, deliberately - to increase the frequency of positive adjectives, and to decrease opportunities for the flourishing of negative ones? We are back, of course, to subjective metrics of a kind; but the very best of cities are those in which the majority of the citizens embrace the fact hat we are subjects of and for one another, and that in a city-proper we like it that way. Cities are not simply villages with more people, fewer ungulates, taller buildings, and public sewerage. Where most of the inhabitants of a metropolis have carried into the city the folkways and habits of their ancestral encampments beyond the walls, and in so doing have given to urban space a character and tempo inimical to the very idea of the city, there is in fact no true city at all. As Marcel Mauss might have put it: every city worthy of the name has refused or rejected something.

The true measure of a city – rank it as you will – is neither the volume of its nouns, nor the number of extravagant, smiley-faced adjectives which either Officialdom or media wags stick to the metropolis, or append to descriptions of its natives. And given the diversity cities – and the pretensions of some residents in some highly-populated megarural enclaves - we conclude that while we may rate, we might not want to rank.

1. http://www.china.org.cn/travel/qingdao/2013-12/24/content_30994444.htm. Consulted Tuesday 22 April 2014.
2. http://sme.amcham-shanghai.org/faq/what-meant-first-tier-second-tier-and-third-tier-cities
3. http://www.nzcta.co.nz/chinanow-general/1486/what-makes-a-city-tier-in-china/#sthash.d0KB0pz4.dpuf
4. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-25/foreign-brands-shift-focus-to-chinas-second-tier-cities
5. Perioikoi, Greek, lit. “dwellers about/outwith”.
6. Lewis Mumford (1937) “What is a city?”, Architectural Record. An interesting aside, and good point to consider given Mumford’s reference to Plato and to More, sis that there’s not a whole lot of the utopian genre in China’s long and fascinating literary history. See Geng CM (2010) “Old state and new mission: A survey of utopian literature during the late Qing dynasty and the early period of the Republic of China”, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, September 2010, Vol.4, Issue 3, pp.402-424 – vide http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11702-010-0105-7
See also Chang H-C (1986) “Literary Utopia and Chinese Utopia Literature: A Generic Appraisal” -- vide
7. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8612022/. “In about 1732, ‘civilization’ was still only a term in jurisprudence: it denoted an act of justice or judgment which turned a criminal trial into civil proceedings. Its modern meaning, ‘the process of becoming civlized’, appeared later, in 1752… Hence the first inevitable question: was it necessary to invent the word ‘civilization’ and encourage it in academic use, it is remains merely a synonym for ‘society’?” Fernad Braudel (1987/1993), A History of Civilizations, Part I, Chapter 1, “Changing Vocabulary”. This is hardly cutting-edge scholarship today, but Braudel’s gloss on the etymology of the word civilization, and its conceptual relationship to the word culture, is still worth reading.
8. http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/04/16/what-makes-a-tier-2-city-in-china-count-the-starbucks/
9. Chinese hipster = Chipster
FURTHER READING: In addition to the above sources, see generally Bell and de-Shalit (2011) The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in the Global Age. The editors of this volume convened a workshop in May of 2012 (The City, Identity, and Political Thinking: An Interdisciplinary Workshop) at Jiaotong University, Shanghai. Daniel A. Bell is the Zhiyuan Chair Professor of Arts and Humanities at Shanghai Jiaotong University and professor of political theory and director of the Center for International and Comparative Political Philosophy at Tsinghua University in Beijing. We heard from an acquaintance of ours who attended that the paper presented by the delegates from Chengdu (we forget their name[s] and affiliation) was among the most interesting. See http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9544.html. Broadly related to the subject, we also like Niall Ferguson (2008) The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World; Azar Gat (2006) War in Human Civilization; Feher & Kwinter (2002) The Contemporary City (Zone Series, 1 & 2); Christopher Alexander et al. (1977) A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction; Jane Jacobs (1961) The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Henry Adams (1918) The Education of Henry Adams.

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Do You Know How Much Urine is in the Swimming Pools?

The weather is getting hotter and hotter, what beats escaping the summer heat with a refreshing splash in the pool?

But have you ever thought of a question: How much urine is there in the pool?

Let’s talk about that today.

Blogger Mark Rober spoke with a couple of scientists to find out the average amount of pee in a swimming pool. The giveaway is the amount of artificial sweetener in pool water. And the unmistakable pool smell.

Mark sampled private pools and public pools four times and sent the samples directly to a laboratory for inspection

Mark visited Lindsay Blackstock, a PhD student of analytical and environmental toxicology at Alberta University to learn about her ingenious method for measuring the amount of pee in a pool by looking at the concentration of an artificial sweetener called Acefulfame Potassium, it’s commonly found in processed foods and fizzy drinks. This is commonly found in urine because it passes straight through the body undigested.

They looked at samples from some pools in his area to determine how much pee was in them and he conducted an experiment of his own to see what was the cause of that "classic pool smell". He also presented average amounts of pee in large pools as well as an equation to determine how much pee is in your own pool.

In fact, you can also get the results by measuring the amount of urea in the pool, but urea can also come from human sweat, and sweat is very common in pools, so you cannot tell how much urea actually came from pee.

Before the results of the experiment came out, Mark learned a big "secret"!

It took about an hour for the mass spectrometer to detect the results. When Mark waited, Lindsay also told him an amazing fact...

Adding chlorine into a pool can disinfect the water because it kills harmful bacteria, viruses and microorganisms...

However, there is also a big disadvantage! Chlorine for disinfection reacts with urea in the pool to form trichloroamine, that’s why you may smell it when you enter the indoor pool. It is actually the smell of trichloramine, which is the   of urine and chlorine, not just the smell of disinfectant water.

To prove this, Mark personally tested it. He prepared two 5 gallon buckets, and filled them with pure water, then added four times the recommended concentration of chlorine for that volume of water to both buckets, and then added a little urine to the bucket B.

After 3 days of waiting, it’s time for the truth.

Bucket A still smells like water even with four times the recommended chlorine concentration, while bucket B smells like a swimming pool. The only difference is that bucket B has a small amount of pee in it. The smell reminds us of summer vacations in a 5-star hotel’s pools or water parks. It turns out… it’s just pee.

The classic pool smell doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the problem is it’s kinda bad news for both your lungs and your eyes.

If your eyes are really red after swimming for a while, that’s because of the trichloroamine from the pee, not the chlorine. Trichloroamine also causes asthma, in fact, studies show that asthma is more likely to occur among lead swimmers than any other high-level athletes, which now make sense, because Michael Phelps admitted to always peeing in the pool and he says everyone does it too.

In Lindsay’s research, she sampled 20 public swimming pools and 10 public hot tubs. The average concentration of sweetener for the public pool was 470ng/L , and 2247ng/L for the public hot tubs.

So what about Mark’s samples? The concentration of artificial sweetener in his friend’s backyard pool is 69ng/L. Although it is much lower than the average, it equals just under a gallon of pee. Mark's hot tub has a slightly higher concentration of artificial sweetener at 103ng/L.

In another set of samples taken by Mark in a public pool and hot tub, the concentration of artificial sweetener is 27ng/L for the pool and 335ng/L for the hot tub, respectively.

Those numbers are much lower than the average levels of the 30 samples that Lindsay collected, which leads Mark to believe that the water has been completely replaced recently.

If you want to estimate the pee in your pool, Mark came up with a simple equation after talking to some professionals and the equation depends on the number of people.

Average:
numbers of swimmers × 1.2 = gallons of pee

If you think they pee more than average: 
numbers of swimmers × 2 = gallons of pee

If they are more disciplined:
numbers of swimmers × 0.5 = gallons of pee

An Olympic pool would contain over 130 gallons of pee.

While some people swear by the health benefits of drinking urine, which is sterile, taking a gulp of the stuff in a swimming pool is not a good idea.

Urine contains many nitrogenous compounds such as urea, ammonia, amino acids, and creatinine. These compounds can react with disinfectants (e.g., chlorine) in swimming pools to form disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

Although considered a taboo, 19 percent of adults have admitted to having urinated in swimming pools at least once.

So be cool, don’t pee in the pool!

If you are interested watching Mark Rober’s research video, go on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S32y9aYEzzo

A Nearby Summer Escaping Plan

The city has been rainy and wet for a month, and you wonder when is this going to end. When the rain stops, it’s time for the heat, and voilà, summer is here. It gets hot and humid in Hangzhou, but there are places nearby you can go to enjoy a cooler environment. These include the islands, mountains, lakes and rivers in or near Hangzhou, and the local water parks.

01 - TONGLU -
Luci Bay 桐庐-芦茨湾

Luci Village is situated on the bank of the Fuchun River and is located beside the Longmenwan Scenic Area in the south of the Yangtze River. The village of Luci has a beautiful landscape with a wealth of rural tourism attractions such as Luci Tutu and Yanlingwu Orchard. Luci Village has a long history and profound cultural heritage. This is the hometown of the late Tang poet Fang Gan. In the village of Luci, there are relatively complete ancient buildings such as Chengong Temple and Linggu Temple with historical and traditional features, ancient lanes, old bridges, and ancestral halls.

There are plenty of water entertainment projects to play. Pick a sunny weekend, bring your water gun and swimsuit, and go have a thrilling rafting or water skiing. If you don't want to go into the water, rent a bicycle to go around the lake, 50RMB for pedal boat for unlimited time, the price is very affordable. Or you can bring a small basket to dig bamboo shoots, pick some raspberries, wild vegetables and herbs. Take a bite on that ice cold watermelon, or ask for a cup of Luci black tea on the way to the mountain is also very good.

- TONGLU -
Yaolin Wonderland 桐庐-瑶琳仙境


During the Olympic season, visitors coming to the Yaolin caves can watch the live broadcast of the Games while cooling off in the caves. Yaolin Wonderland is a group of limestone caves formed by corrosion through the ages. With stalagmite and peak stones in fantastic shapes and colors as well as murmuring streams, pools and cliffs, its halls are interconnected with passages and chambers.

Yaolin Wonderland stretches 1km in depth and covers 28,000 sqm. It ranks second on the list of the newly developed natural scenic sports among the Forty Best Tourist Resorts in China. It was also awarded as one of the Ten Best Tourist Resorts in Zhejiang province.

In the spacious fourth to sixth halls of Yaolin Wonderland, 300-odd immortals from more than 20 myths and legends, such as Nuwa Patching the Skies and Houyi Shooting Down the Nine Suns, are displayed through lifelike modern audio-animatronics, complementing the beauty of the stalagmites in the other three halls of Yaolin Wonderland and adding a touch of mythology.

02 - DEQING -
Moganshan 德清-莫干山


Moganshan, part of China’s Moganshan National Park, about 1 hour by private car southwest of Shanghai, the lush mountain has long been the stomping ground of high-profile politicians (a list that once included Chairman Mao), foreign missionaries, Chinese gangsters, and well-heeled expats.

Thanks to its elite clientele and countryside appeal, the area has been dubbed the “Hamptons of China,” though visitors will have to trade a sandy coastline for rolling tea plantations and restored 19th-century mansions. Even without the beaches of Long Island, the draw is clear: It’s the kind of place where you can wander through tea plantations by day and sip French wines in a private cellar late into the evening. After a busy week of work in Hangzhou, where temperatures hover around 38 degrees in the summer, Moganshan provides cool mountain air and a blissfully wide-open itinerary.

There are a few places we recommend you to stay, simply search: Le Passage, naked Stables, Solvang Village Boutique on www.morehangzhou.com

03 - JIANDE -
Xin'an River 建德-新安江


Listed with the first group of national scenic spots ever adopted, the city of Jiande is described as a bright pearl along the golden tourist route from Zhejiang province to neighboring Anhui.

The Xin'an River attracts thousands of visitors from both home and abroad every year. Linking Yellow Mountain at its headwaters and Thousand-Island Lake at its lower reaches, the river winds among high mountains.

Due to its splendid landscapes, the river is renowned as a gallery where water meets mountains. Xin'an River is famous for its clear water - in summer or winter, its riverbed can be clearly seen. The temperature of the river remains 17 degrees through the whole year, and the fog on the river is also a wonder.

And forget to try the local specialty: Fish Head!

04 - LIN'AN -
West Zhejiang Grand Canyon 临安-浙西大峡谷


West Zhejiang Grand Canyon is located in the City of Lin'an in western Hangzhou. The canyon is one of the famed landscapes in western Zhexi. There are 4 main sightseeing areas: Jiamen Pass, White Horse Cliff, Zhelin Waterfall, and Laodui Brook.

From White Horse Cliff, you can see a landscape that includes waterfalls, brooks, and cliffs. At Jiamen Pass, you experience rafting or you can enjoy walking along trails through the canyon. At Zhelin Waterfall, you can see Yansheng Waterfall and Longmen Waterfall, the waters of which are exceptionally cool. An important feature of Laodui Brook is a display of cultural activities there.

- LIN'AN -
Qingshan Lake 临安-青山湖


Qingshan Lake is a manmade lake 4-5 kilometers to the east of Lin'an. Lined with metasequoia trees, the Lake makes a unique view. There is also a barbecue court and a small playing ground where you could go parachuting on the water. The best way to appreciate the views here is by boat. Tickets are available at Qinshan and Shenghe, two piers at the south bank of the Lake. You may board and alight at the same pier. There are two types of rides, with one taken on boats painted in the style of classic pleasure boats, and the other on yachts.

05 - LISHUI -
Songyang Ruoliao 丽水 - 松阳箬寮


Songyang County is located in the mountains of southwest Zhejiang and has over 1800 years of history. This is a famous city of provincial history. Historically, it was the economic center of Chuzhou (today's Lishui), and it has many historical relics, including the domestically and internationally famous Yanqing Temple Pagoda. The many cultural sites here also include the Huang Courtyard, the “Ming-Qing Neighborhood,” and the Xiongdi Jinshi (“Brothers Who Passed the Imperial Exam”) memorial gate.

The Ruoliao Primeval Forest is located in Songyang County. It is a small canyon between Lishui Mountain. The cool climate, dense vegetation accompanied by waterfalls and streams make the original forest a good place to escape the heat. The main thing here is to experience the farmhouse music, listen to the sound of the stream, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the fun of nature.

Shanghai’s Waste Classification Has Spawned A New Occupation

Lately, Shanghai citizens have been busy learning how to sort their garbage.

Overnight, all the garbage bins in Shanghai's major residential complexes disappeared! Residents can now only dispose of their garbage at designated garbage disposal points which are locked up during most of the day.

Each resident will be allocated with a time to dump their waste and a designated station within their vicinity, where they can sort garbage into bins.

The daily time for garbage disposal is regulated:
7am - 9am
6pm – 8pm

(Slightly different for different places)

Garbage must be sorted, otherwise the penalty will be between 50RMB-200RMB.

After the garbage bins were removed, some residents took garbage to work, some dumped them on the street late at night.

"On July 28, 2018, the garbage bins were removed. Although there was a lot of publicity previously (to educate the residents), the complex was like a big garbage dump the day after." Shi Jingjing, secretary of the party branch of the Fushi residential area in Minhang District, Shanghai, recalled, “After the garbage bins were removed and the designated garbage bins put in place, most residents, especially the elderly, found it easier to sort their garbage." Shi Jingjing said, "But some of the young people do not follow the waste classification rules. Some people throw garbage into the street trash can outside the complex. Some people take the garbage with them to throw in the garbage bins where they work.”

“In the vicinity of street shops, there will be a lot of unsorted overnight garbage in the morning.” said Wang Junxiong, head of the business department of Shanghai Jiangchuan Environmental Sanitation Comprehensive Service Co., Ltd. “The urban management, law enforcement, and other departments have their off-duty hours, some merchants would throw the unsorted garbage on the street in the evening. Even if they were discovered, the punishment is not hard enough.” In some communities, in order to find the owner of the ownerless garbage that was thrown away, the residents’ committee officials even went through the garbage to look for clues.

Garbage Disposal Service!

So some “smart” people have developed a new business:
Garbage disposal!

Ms. Chen said she goes out early and comes home late every day. Garbage disposal is scheduled at certain times of the day, which gives her a headache. After all, some people are busy.

Fortunately, some people started to provide garbage disposal services at the complex where she lives. She only needs to leave the sorted garbage at her door. At 9am every day, someone will come to take them to the designated garbage disposal point. The cost is 1RMB each time and 30RMB a month.

Waste sorting is just beginning. It will be a long journey for a big country like China. Apart from enhancing garbage storage sites, local environmental agencies are aiming to resolve garbage overflow in the districts of Jing’an, Changning, Yangpu, Fengxian, Songjiang and Chongming by the end of 2018. Other districts will follow suit next year, and it is expected that a fully conceived national system - including the enforcement of garbage fees - will be in place by 2020.

Your Latest Bus Guide to Xiaoshan & Pudong Airports

Starting from June 21st, the Yellow Dragon Stadium Station will no longer operate. There will be two locations where you can get a bus to Shanghai Pudong Airport. The journey takes about 3.5 hours and the ticket cost is 120RMB. Here are the details:

To Shanghai Pudong Airport
上海浦东机场大巴


From Wulinmen
武林门民航售票处

(390 Tiyuchang Road体育场路390号)

5:30am, 6:10am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 3:50pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm

From Hangzhou East Train Station
杭州火车东站


5:55am, 6:45am, 7:35am, 8:35am, 9:35am, 10:35am, 11:35am, 12:35pm, 1:35pm, 2:35pm, 3:35pm, 4:25pm, 5:05pm, 6:05pm

We also collected information for how to get to Xiaoshan Airport. Here are the details:

Bus to Xiaoshan Airport
萧山机场大巴


From Wulinmen
武林门民航售票处

(390 Tiyuchang Road体育场路390号)

Stops at: Bus station at the junction of Pinghai Road and Yuewang Road 平海路岳王路口公交车站 (You can purchase your ticket at: 平海路杭州市职工国际旅行社内)

First bus: 5am
Last bus: 9pm
Every 15 minutes from 5am to 5pm.
Every 30 minutes from 5pm to 9pm.

From Chengzhan Train Station
城站火车站


Inside of Chengzhan Train Station Bus Station 城站火车站汽车客运站内.
Add: 12-8 East Huancheng Road 环城东路12-8号

First bus: 5am
Last bus: 9pm
Every 30 minutes.

From Xiasha
下沙


Hangzhou Eastern International Business Center, South Haida Road 海达南路杭州东部国际商务中心
Stops at:  Shengtai Kaiyuan Mingdu Hotel 盛泰开元名都酒店

7:15am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 12:10pm, 1:40pm, 3:10pm, 4:30pm, 6:15pm

From Hangzhou East Train Station
火车东站


Every 30 minutes from 5:30am from 9am.
Every 15 minutes from 9am to 9pm.

From Binjiang
滨江


Overseas Business Park, 368 Liuhe Road 六和路368号海外创业园
Stops at:  Ramada Plaza Riverside Hangzhou (华美达大酒店), and Jiangling Road Subway Station (江陵路地铁站)

6am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 10am, 11:20am, 12:30pm, 1:40pm, 2:50pm, 4pm, 5:20pm, 6:40pm

From Future Science and Technology City
未来科技城


Hangzhou Future Science and Technology City Overseas High-Level Talents Innovation Park杭州未来科技城海创园

6:40am, 7:35am, 8:40am, 9:25am, 10:20am, 11:10am, 12:30pm, 1:20pm, 2:20pm, 3:20pm,  4:20pm, 5:25pm, 5:55pm, 6:40pm

From Xixi Wetland
西溪湿地


Longshezui, Xixi Wetland 杭州市西溪湿地龙舌嘴

8am, 10am, 12:20pm, 3:30pm

From Lake View Hotel
望湖宾馆


2 West Huancheng Road 环城西路2号

9am, 11am, 1:20pm, 4:30pm

From Hangzhou Terminal
杭州客运中心

(3339 East Desheng Rd. Jiubao Town 九堡镇德胜东路3339号)

6:40am, 7:40am, 8:45am, 8:50am, 9:10am, 9:40am, 10:10am, 10:40am, 11:20am, 12:10pm, 12:50pm, 1:30pm, 2:05pm, 2:35pm, 3:20pm, 4pm, 4:35pm, 5:10pm, 5:50pm, 6:30pm, 7:10pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm, 8:55pm

From Hangzhou North Bus Station
杭州长途汽车北站

(766 Moganshan Road 莫干山路766号)

5:15am, 6am, 6:45am, 7:40am, 8:10am, 8:40am, 9:20am, 10am, 10:40am, 11:30am, 12:10pm, 12:40pm, 1:20pm, 1:45pm, 2:30pm, 3:10pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 5pm, 5:40pm, 6:20pm, 7pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm, 9pm, 9:40pm, 10:10pm

From Hangzhou South Bus Station
杭州长途汽车南站

(407 Qiutao Road 秋涛路407号)

6:20am, 7:20am, 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:10pm

From Hangzhou West Bus Station
杭州长途汽车西站

(357 Tianmushan Road  天目山路357号)

6:20am, 7:20am, 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:10pm

We recommend you this platform to book your bus ticket. Not only can you buy tickets for the airport shuttle bus, but also to other cities as well. You can use your passport to purchase tickets.

To Come Back from Xiaoshan Airport

The shuttle buses of Hangzhou Airport usually take an hour to the city center and around 50 minutes to Xiaoshan District. To buy tickets, go to Gate 14, Arrival Hall, on the first floor of the domestic terminal.

China is Getting Serious about Waste Classification

China has been making efforts on waste sorting or waste recycling for decades, but there are still many problems yet to be solved. Eight cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou were considered national pilot cities for garbage sorting in 1998. Twenty years on, their efforts have not achieved the desired results. According to the People's Daily, the failure of garbage classification was due to three reasons: a lack of awareness from residents, misconduct from garbage workers and insufficient financial support.

According to a survey released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment research center, 63.7 percent of people surveyed believe that the reason why they fail to sort the garbage is due to the lack of classified waste bins in their residential communities. 59.6 percent of people blame their behavior on the failure of city garbage disposal services, which mix all garbage together, leading people to think that there's no point in sorting.

Other reasons include that the residents don't know how to sort; they have no sense of accomplishment; they think sorting is complicated, exhausting and few people around them do it.

First Penalty in Hangzhou for Garbage Classification

On May 30th, 2019, Hangzhou Jianggan District officially imposed penalties for the classification of personal waste.

On the morning of May 30, Mr. Zhang, who lives in Caihe Street in Jianggan District, signed his name on the “Administrative Punishment Decision”. Jianggan District City Management Office fined Mr. Zhang for 50RMB because the garbage was misplaced.

Mr. Zhang became the first person in Hangzhou who was not properly sorting garbage and was subject to administrative punishment.

Shanghai Will Be the First City to Enforce Garbage Classification

Yes, starting from July 1st, 2019, Garbage Classification will be officially implemented in Shanghai!

Shanghai is going to be the pioneer city for waste sorting and recycling, which makes it the first city in China to publish harsh regulations on garbage sorting and recycling. The government has put out a list of categories for sorting waste including recyclable, hazardous, wet and dry. It also specified the punishments for individuals and companies that break the rules.

Fines for individual mixed garbage will be up to 200RMB

Fines for companies, organizations, and complex mixing of garbage will be up to 50,000RMB

For individuals, authorities will fine a maximum of 200RMB (about 29 U.S. dollars) for mixing the garbage, while companies and organizations that are in charge of garbage sorting, transporting, processing and management will be fined a maximum 50,000RMB (about 72,357 U.S. dollars).

The regulation will come into effect on July 1 and was passed by the people's congress of Shanghai municipal city on January 31, 2018.

Garbage Classification

Basically divided into four categories: Hazardous Waste, Recyclable Waste, Household Food Waste, and Residual Waste. Check out the colours and Chinese below:

These four categories are the major ones. How do we distinguish them? We explain each category for you, let’s start with Recyclable Waste.

Recyclable Waste
可回收垃圾


Paper, plastic, scrap metal, glass bottles & containers, magazines, books & cardboard, clothes, fabric, toys, take-out or food delivery packaging

This is where your plastic bottles and containers go, unless they are dirty and can’t be cleaned, in which case, they go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Pour out the liquid before you throw your drink bottles or food containers away. Rinse them with water and squash them. You’re doing the sanitation workers a huge favor by reducing the size and weight, and giving them a bit of dignity.

Cosmetic brands such as Kiehl's, Origins, M.A.C, Shiseido, and Innisfree can take your returned containers and reward you with small samples and membership points.

Household Food Waste
湿垃圾


Food waste, expired food, shells & husk, dead plants, Chinese medicine

Anything type of food waste belongs in this category. The chicken bones from last night, the shells from your favourite spicy crayfish, shrimp, or crab, the plant you bought three months ago and is now dead, grape skin, fruit peels… but leftover milk or yogurt should be poured directly into your sink.

Most organic food waste belongs here, except things that are hard to break down, like big bones and coconut shells, which go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Remember to remove the plastic from anything you put in these bins.

Residual Waste
干垃圾


Anything else goes to Residual Waste.

Bottles or cans that are dirty and can’t be cleaned should go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Things like face mask packaging, nail polish bottles, cotton sticks, toothbrushes, towels, used tissues, tampons, diapers, cigarette butts, plant pots, plastic wrap, yogurt or milk bottles (you need to empty the bottle first). Clean food packaging goes to Recyclable, dirty and used packaging goes to Residual Waste.

Waimai containers are incredibly hard to recycle, even the paper-based ones. These containers are often lined with polyethylene and tainted with food residue so they are very unpopular among garbage collectors -- it’s not worth their effort to wash them or separate the liners. The same goes for disposable coffee cups. This is a problem.

So here are the four steps we suggest you do. First, separate the clean paper/plastics and dirty containers. Leftover food →Household Food Waste Bin (湿垃圾); dirty containers →Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin; Clean bags → Recyclable (可回收物) bin.

Hazardous Waste
有害垃圾


Used batteries (rechargeable batteries, button batteries, batteries), paint cans, waste lamp, paint buckets, pesticides (there are residues that need to be sealed in advance and then disposed of), expired or discarded drugs, and other hazardous materials.

In newer residential areas, they are usually right next to the other bins, in red or with a red label. If you don’t have one in your neighborhood, talk to your local neighborhood management about options for disposal. That’s kind of mafan but we all need to do the best we can.

If you are wondering how many garbage bags you should have at home to handle daily waste, we have an idea for you to try.

More Options for Recyclable Waste

For books, Duozhuayu (多抓鱼) is great for selling and buying second-hand books. Funded by Tencent, Duozhuayu has a system that verifies and estimates the value of your books, and they will collect the books from you free of charge.

For clothes, take them back to the store, or take them to H&M. Clothing shops Uniqlo, H&M, and Zara all provide recycling services for used clothes from their own shops; H&M even accepts clothes from other brands.

Social enterprise Feimayi (飞蚂蚁) is at the forefront of online textile recycling in China and provides a free collection service for more than five kg of clothes. Also funded by Tencent, like Duozhuayu, it’s accessible via desktop and WeChat mini-program. Find the QR code by scrolling down on their website. Basic Chinese is needed to navigate the app and fill out the form.

Aihuishou (爱回收) is China’s largest platform for recycling and selling second-hand electronics. They have offline stores in shopping malls throughout the city.

Xianyu (闲鱼) is Taobao’s second-hand marketplace. Although not desktop-friendly, you can sell almost anything there. The platform is super active due to its sheer size. There is an amazing, incredible, wonderfully efficient and hugely profitable Buy & Sell section here.

Green Initiatives offers transparent waste management for e-waste, paper, and textile waste. They also have recycling bins at URBN hotel, Element Fresh, and many other private and public collection points around Shanghai. For home pick up, Feibao, a social enterprise that works with Green Iniatitives offers recycling service through WeChat.

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