The elegant qipao has a distinctive man- darin collar and slitted skirt that reaches mid- thigh. The traditional Chinese women’s national dress is an imagery of China made popular by Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s.

The qipao, also known as the cheongsam, originated in Manchurian China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Qipao was originally a long, wide, loose- tting garment. Legend has it that a  sherwoman made it more practical and less cumbersome by making it slimmer, but with slits at the sides to en- able her to tuck the front of the customized “qipao” in. At the same time, legend said the young emperor woke from a dream that said a  sherwoman in a qipao would become his consort. He sent his men out to  nd the  sherwoman and the  sherwoman became the emperor’s wife.

Since then, Manchu women copied the  sherwoman’s qipao style. With the fall of the Qing Dynasty and great social change, tailors found a way to revamp the qipao. The waist was nipped, dress shortened, sleeves also were shortened and the entire qipao was slimmed down to hip the curves. One of the socialites of the time, the in uential Soong

Ching-ling, wore the  gure-hugging gown and made it the fashion de rigeur for women all over China – the symbol of modernity.

The qipao was phased out with the dawn of the Cultural Revolution, which dictated the uniformity of the unisex Mao suit. After the Cultural Revolution, western in uence increased and the qipao was only worn at formal occasions.

In recent years, it has made a comeback in mainstream fashion. In 2007, the Shang- hai Cheongsam Salon was created to pro- mote the elegance of the national dress. The 2013 Beijing Fashion Week had a number of pieces inspired by the qipao. And fashion houses such as Dior, Gucci, Lauren, Versace and Vuitton had been incorporating ele- ments of the qipao on their runways. Could a qipao revival be close behind? ♦

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TinyLivingAccording to the U.S. house-and-home media, tiny house-living is trending big.  In Hong Kong, tiny homes have been the way of life for many for decades!  A population of 7.2 million people squeezed into 426 square miles.

However, things have reached a new (small) record in Hong Kong - a developer is planning to market spaces as homes on the island’s Happy Valley district that are not much bigger than shoeboxes!

The developer, Emperor International Holdings, plans to convert an existing 21-storey commercial building into 68 “apartments,” each at 61.4 square feet, except for four larger ones, measuring 121.6 square feet each.  However, the filing with the Building Department does mention that the 61.4 square feet excludes kitchen and bathroom space.  According to a Hong Kong valuation and consultant firm, even accounting for additional kitchen and bathroom space, the Emperor apartments “will still be the smallest flats in Hong Kong.”  (For comparison, the average cell at Hong Kong’s Stanley Prison is 81 square feet.)

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On a May 2015 morning, a scientist opened his front door in suburban Philadelphia and his life was turned completely upside down.

 

“It was so urgent, the pounding was so urgent that I run here to open the door without even being fully dressed,” recounted Xiaoxing Xi.  He was being interviewed by Bill Whitaker of CBS’ “60 Minutes” for a piece titled “Collateral Damage.

The segment aired on May 15, 2016, and addresses the U.S. government’s fight against economic espionage conducted by China to gain American trade secrets and intellectual property.  Xi, the then chair of the Temple University physics department, is the “collateral damage.”  

On opening his door that May morning, Xi was greeted with men in bulletproof vests with guns who handcuffed and arrested him on the spot.  The men were from the FBI.  He was accused of selling U.S. technology secrets to China.  In September 2015, the Department of Justice dropped all charges against him.  But damage to his career and finances were done.

Sad to say, Xi’s case is not an isolated incident: 

In October 2013, two Chinese scientists at Eli Lilly were arrested and jailed for passing proprietary information to a Chinese drug company.  Turned out the information was not proprietary after all and the charges were changed to wire fraud. 

 

By Rick King and Chang Wang, contributors

Editor’s Note:  Both Rick King and Chang Wang consider themselves lucky, and the luckiness is generational.  King, a “baby boomer” who was born in California and grew up in Massachusetts, believes overall, his generation is better off than his parents’ and his children’s; Wang, originally from Beijing, belongs to “Generation ’89” in China, even believes his generation is the luckiest in Chinese history since 1842. 

China Insight invites King and Wang to author a conversational style essay to compare the lives and the key characteristics of the “baby boomers” in the U.S. and the “Generation ’89” in China. 

The first of this four-part series defines who the boomer and Generation ’89 are in the U.S. and China respectively.   The subsequent parts will describe, contrast and compare the various economic and societal factors that affect and shape the two groups in their respective countries.

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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