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Memo Mata came to China six years ago for a change of pace. As he put it, Mata wanted to explore the world. Now Mata, a former Westlake High School player who suited up for Texas State, is helping mold an unlikely relationship between the National Football League and a growing Chinese fan base.
Throughout this sprawling cosmopolitan city, Jiashan Market and similar projects have arisen to meet a demand for healthy, sustainably produced foods, and a growing desire among Shanghai’s wealthy elite to adopt more environmentally conscious lifestyles.
Led by Erwin Sennett Wu, a 28-year-old American from Long Beach, California, the backyard football club represents a small portion of Chinese football fans. The crew meets every Sunday at local parks and universities to run through warm-ups, drills, and scrimmages.
Located in the heart of Shanghai’s French Concession, Jiashan Market is a residential and business community that focuses on fostering an environment that sustains healthy lifestyles. Inspired by the concept of sustainability and an eco-friendly ideology, the people of Jiashan Market are trying to nudge Shanghai—and China—in a greener direction.
The petite drag queen strutted to the middle of the floor in a pin-straight pink wig, a strapless wedding gown and a pair of elbow-length white gloves. She grabbed a microphone and belted out a Chinese pop song in honor of Father’s Day as middle-aged men in the audience catcalled and threw 100 RMB ($15) notes at her.
Twitter might limit social media users to 140 characters, but microbloggers in China face a different order of restriction. Sina Weibo—China’s most popular microblogging platform—functions similarly to Twitter in terms of post-length limitations, but it is also subject to the censorship rules of the Chinese government.
The bartender poured and the lemon peel danced in the cocktail glass, as the six-piece jazz band played “Shanghai at Night”—a tune all the rage in the 1930s—for an audience seeking a sense of Old Shanghai. If anyone could deliver, it’s the Old Jazz Band. Known throughout Shanghai and beyond, the band—average age of 75-years-old—has played the famous Peace Hotel over parts of four decades.
All across China, the government is relocating citizens to ease growing pressures on land use—and often inciting a public outcry. In May, a man from Fujian Province suicide-bombed a government building after officials demolished his business. But in mountainous Zhejiang Province, some citizens are more than glad to be moved closer to villages with higher standards of living.
When shopping at Home Depot, most Americans don’t give much thought to the origins of the lightbulbs they buy beyond the perhaps half-formed notion that somewhere a giant machine is churning them out at the push of a button. Come to China’s eastern countryside, however, and you’ll find a dramatically different reality within factories like the one at Tai Yang village west of Hangzhou, where workers assemble 300,000 lightbulbs a month—by hand.
In the mountain village of Xiejiaqiao, a line snakes through the center of the downtown crossroads as residents line up for an annual health screening given by doctors from a nearby town. By 10 a.m. on June 15, more than 400 people—half of the village population—have visited the clinic. As the line continues to grow, people begin to push others out of queue to secure a spot away from the rain.