Since the last update Ashle, I and both Chads took a plane to Urumqi, met up with Ablajan (who was the guide of Chris and I last year) and went with him to Turpan and back, then Ashle and I left the Chads in Xinjiang while we took a 24 hour bus ride to Kazakhastan, spent a week in Almaty, and flew back first to Urumqi and then to Beijing. Now all three of the them have left Japan, Ashle and one Chad back to Japan (although Ashle is leaving there for the US shortly) and the other Chad back to Canada while I finish my time here in China. Before they left we went on a trip to the Great Wall, and after they left I finally went to the Forbidden City by myself yesterday. I’m taking a sleeper train to Shanghai tonight and then on the 30th boarding the Osaka bound ferry.
I have a lot of journals, information and photos to post, but that’ll all wait until I get back to Japan when I’ll start doing so gradually. It’s been a good trip, but I’m tired and feeling about ready to go home.
While walking around Beijing today I picked up an issue of a smallish English language paper called “Beijing Today（今日北京)”. There were several interesting articles, but considering my upcoming intinerary this one particularly caught my eye:
China and Kazakhstan Extablish Free Trade Zone
Yu Shanshan 03/05/2004
The Ministry of Commerce confirmed Sunday that China’s first free trade zone will be established along the border with Kazakhstan.
The China-Kazakhstan free border-trade zone will lie between Yili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, in Xinjiang, and Alma-ata, Kazakhstan.
Jia Yisheng, secretary of the CPC committee in Horgos, Xinjiang, told China News Agency last Tuesday that the two sides have agreed to build a Sino-Kazakhstan world trade center in the 200 hectares between Horgos and Kazakhstan. China has offered 130 hectares while Kazakhstan has contributed 70 hectares for the free trade zone.
According to Jia, the Chinese side is mapping out a plan for the free trade zone, and the scheme of Sino-Kazakhstan free trade zone put forward by China has received a positive response from Kazakhstan. Under the plan, the zone would allow for zero tariffs and the free flow of people and goods.
You can read the full text of the article here on their web site.
Article from China’s government newspaper.
Lord of the Rings casts its magic on Chinese box office
BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhuanet) — The final episode of the Lord of the Rings is set to be a spellbinding success at the Chinese box office when it finally opens on March 12, thanks to its clean sweep of 11 Oscars at Sunday’s Academy Awards.
“We imported the film before it won 11 Oscars at the 76th Academy Awards, so our expectations of the box office revenue havesoared,” deputy general manager of China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) Weng Li said.
The CFGC estimates The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will reap at least 80 million yuan (9.67 million US dollars) in China, smashing the box office record for a foreign film set bythe second Harry Porter film of 50 million yuan (6.05 million US dollars).
“Some Beijing-based cinema managers agreed that the Rings couldtake 15 million yuan (1.8 million US dollars) at city box offices and could hit 100 million yuan (12 million US dollars) in profits nationwide,” Weng said.
“I can’t wait after knowing the Rings had a clean sweep the Oscars,” said Mrs. Fan, an employee of a Beijing-based media company. “Since the end of last year, I started calling cinemas toconfirm the film’s screening dates.”
It’s now March 5 9:45pm in Beijing. I got here earlier today at about 1pm after a 24 hour train ride from Shenzhen. I had meant to try to update this every couple of days but I got off to a pretty bad start, between being busy all day, tired all night, and then the one day I really felt like I had energy, the internet in my friend Rondy’s apartment, where I was staying in Hong Kong, suddenly stopped working about five minutes after I started to type. On the train I had a lot of time to write in my notebook, so I’m going to just start typing pages from there and posting them as online journal entries. Right now I’m using the hostel computer and the internet connection is extremely slow, so I’m not going to try to deal at all with photos, but hopefully I’ll be able to post a few tomorrow.