Monthly Archives: February 2015

China Morsels
News you might have missed

British Brands & Royal Mail Join Chinese E-Commerce Boom

Over 130 British brands have set up their online stores in Tmall, the largest B2C online shopping platform in China established in 2014 under Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Karen Millen, Lush, Cambridge Satchel, Twinings, Neal’s Yard, Freshcatch, Tangle Teezer, are just of few of the companies that are bringing British fashion to Chinese consumers’ doorsteps via this e-commence platform. Royal Mail also announced it would join Tmall in March 2015 to support more British retailers and exporters into the Chinese market.

Visit Tmall for the full story

Chai Jing’s review:
“Under the Dome – Investigating China’s Smog”

Over 100 million viewers in less than two days watched this documentary on air pollution by renowned investigative journalist Chai Jing. “Under the Dome” has been widely discussed in China especially via Chinese social media Weibo and Wechat. The documentary was released just a few days before the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body.

View the video “Under the Dome”

Chinese New Year in HongKong 1937 and Birmingham 1981

Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated for 15 days, starting from the Spring Festival and ends with the Lantern Festival. These two clips from the BFI “China on Film” project provide glimpses of Chinese new year celebrations in Hongkong and Birmingham last century.

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong 1937
Chinese New Year in Birmingham 1981

Zuckerberg Speaks Chinese

If you are in need of some additional motivation to keep developing your Chinese language skills perhaps the news that Mark Zuckerberg has learned the language will give you inspiration.  In autumn 2014 the Facebook founder stunned and delighted students and staff at Tsinghua University during a a 30 minutes Q&A session in Beijing. Zuckerberg set himself goal of learning Chinese in 2010 as his wife’s grandmother only speaks Chinese. Check how good his Chinese is in this English subtitled video.


APEC Blue is one of the latest terms to come into use in China. It iwas a term first coined by Chinese bloggers to describe the blue skies seen during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing in November 2014. The blue sky was achieved through a series extreme pollution controls over the period and this term was quickly used by bloggers to describe something utterly and unrealistically beautiful, but very short and fleeting. One typical joke circulated on-line is: “He’s not really into you—it’s APEC blue.”
More info

The World’s Largest Law Firm

The merger of Dentons with China’s Dacheng Law Offices was officially announced on Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015. This merger will create the world’s largest law firm with 6,600 lawyers at 120 locations in 50 countries. Dacheng (大成) Law Offices was founded in 1992 and it is one of China’s earliest and largest partnership law firms. Its founding partner Peng Xuefeng believes the combination of the two firms is “the most extensive and innovative partnership in both the East and the West”.

Chinese Language Teaching in Germany 3 March

Dr Andreas Guder based in Freie Universität, Berlin where he is the Head of Chinese Language Study, is making a short visit to Edinburgh. Andreas also holds the post of Chairman of the Association of Chinese Teachers in German Speaking Countries (FaCh).


His talk is entitled “Chinese as a Foreign Language in Germany: Institutions, Activities and Perspectives of the German Chinese Language Teachers Association”. He will focus on four main topics.


  1. Chinese as a Foreign Language in Germany
  2. Association of Chinese Teachers in German Speaking Countries (FaCh)
  3. Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and HSK
  4. European Benchmarks for the Chinese Language Project

This talk will take place on Tuesday 3 March running 5.30pm-7pm in the University of Edinburgh Business School, Lecture Theatre 3, 29 Buccleuch Place, EH8 9JS.  Following on from the lecture and Q&A there will be a networking drinks reception.

Chinese New Year Party

Join us in Abden House when the Confucius Institute for Scotland hosts its open house party to mark the arrival of the Year of the Goat(or Sheep or Ram) from 6pm-9pm on Friday 20th February 2015.

This year as well as the ever popular games sessions, there will be the chance to enjoy or take part in the Karaoke sessions, learn Chinese Chess or Mah-jong, watch and get involved in our Talent Show or simply meet up with friends old and new over some delicious jiaoazi and a glass or two.

Weather permitting we will end the evening in the garden at Abden House with Chinese Lanterns and a chorus of Auld Lang Syne. Please register in advance to allow us the chance to try to provide enough Chinese dumplings

David Shambaugh Distinguished Lecture 9 March

David Shambaugh is Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. His talk “China at the Crossroads? Major Reform Challenges” which is part of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s 2015 Distinguished Lecture Series, will take place on Monday 9 March from 5.30pm.


After thirty-five years of successful reforms first launched by Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues at the famous Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee in December 1978, many China watchers (and many Chinese inside China) judge that the nation is at a crossroads and has reached a series of critical junctures in its economic, social, political, environmental, intellectual, foreign policy and other areas. This lecture will explore a number the major challenges confronting the Xi Jinping leadership, and will assess the progress being made.`


Prof David ShambaughIn addition to holding the posts of Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, David Shambough is also a non-resident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for East Asian Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. He was previously Reader in Chinese Politics in the University of London`s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), where he also served as Editor of The China Quarterly. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. Asia-Pacific Council, and other public policy and scholarly organizations. He has been selected as a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Senior Scholar by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and a Distinguished Research Professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

View our Videos

The Institute has made a number of videos since opening in 2007. Dip into these clips or longer videos to catch up on some of our earlier activities since opening

2014: China at the Mound

2014: Poster Art of Modern China

2014: Terracotta Warriors

2012: Peking University Concert at Canongate Kirk

2012: Jim O’Neill, Goldman Sachs- excerpt from Business Lecture

2012: Renewal of MoU with Hanban at Global Conference in Edinburgh

2009: Beijing Film Academy production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Calligraphy Talk from Chi Zhang

Browse & Borrow

Discover more about China through our “browse & borrow” programme.

From the classic literary masterpiece “A Dream of Red Mansions” to contemporary work by authors such as Nobel prize winner MO Yan or contemporary author YAN Geling our library holds a wide range of dual language novels, as well as non-fiction books on arts, architecture, business, language learning, coffee-table pictorial books and a special collection celebrating Scotland’s links with China stretching back over the last two centuries.

If you are more of a visual learner then check out (literally for members) one of the many sub-titled Chinese DVDs we have available.

List of Chinese Language DVD with English Subtitles – rated and reviewed

List of Chinese Language DVD with English Subtitles – not yet rated or reviewed

Chinese film The boss of the story & The Unrerdog Knight Chinese Film

To borrow books or DVD you need to hold a membership for our Institute. All active students are eligible for free membership or take out an annual membership at a cost of £25 (£10) for one year. Please visit our Membership page for full details and to download, complete and return the application form. Already convinced?  Click here for the Membership registration form

We look forward to seeing you in the office to pick up a DVD.

China Now in Scotland

The Institute was commissioned by the Scottish government to co-ordinate, brand and market a ten month nationwide festival in the year of the Beijing Olympics.

From the classroom to the boardroom, in galleries and gardens, on theatres and on the streets, the programme stretched from Orkney to Galashiels.

Launched by then First Minister Alex Salmond at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh which has links with China stretching back over 100 years, the Botanics opened for 12 evenings over a three week period week attracting over 6,000 people.

Lantern Festival at RBGE

Opening Event CNIS

To savour some of the flavours of Festival please review the short video or visit the archived website which still lists all the events which took place during 2008.

Confucius Institute Day 2014

Autumn 2014 saw a global day of celebration around the globe when all 450+ Confucius Institutes set up special events. Our Institute opened a pop-up Chinese tea house on the Mound where a host of activities including calligraphy workshops, Tai Chi sessions and ‘take-away language sessions’ were offered to some thousands of Edinburgh residents and tourists. Stage performances throughout the day showcased modern Chinese pop music, dance and classical music.


Poster Art of Modern China

Early summer 2014 saw the Institute bring a large exhibition on Poster Art of Modern China to the city for five weeks. Comprising over 100 original Chinese art posters covering the period 1913-1997 on loan from the Propaganda Poster Art Centre, Shanghai, the carefully curated selection covered the full history of this art form ranging from highly decorative advertising posters styled as Shanghai calendars, through to the newest poster featuring Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, which was created in 1997.        

For more images, timeline and a detailed introduction to the aesthetic and historical value of the exhibition please visit our microsite here.

A three day academic conference was also run in conjunction with this exhibition which drew participants from China, USA, and Europe.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream-2009

The Institute’s first foray onto the Edinburgh Fringe was in partnership with Beijing Film Academy who brought a multimedia site specific production of this well known Shakespeare play to the University’s McEwan Hall.  Blending traditional Chinese dramatic traditions with the world of digital technology, enabled a range of bizarre and fantastic dream effects to be realised. The cast and crew of 60 people included Yang Qingsheng, Visual Image Creative Studio Director for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Read more on our microsite.