Recording 2010's culture shocks

10:11, January 11, 2011      

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The past year on the nation's cultural calendar was full of high points and just a few lows.

At the end of 2010, China Daily, in association with the leading cultural website ChinaCulture.org, launched an online poll of the Top 10 Chinese Cultural Events of the year, with an English version for foreigners and a Chinese version for Chinese voters. Voters could pick from 50 candidates, made known through the China Daily website as well as other websites and social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, China Daily Mobile News, QQI, Sina Weibo and 163 Weibo. Thousands cast their votes and by Jan 7 we had the top 10 results which ranged from grand gatherings to individuals, from the nation's accomplishments on the world stage to everyday trends. Here's a look at the happenings of 2010 that stirred viewers.

1. Shanghai World Expo

China's hosting of the World Expo for the first time offered a unique opportunity for cross-cultural dialogue and exchanges. Visitors from around the world flocked to the breathtaking pavilions and their collections of rare treasures, besides experiencing the world's diverse cultures at more than 20,000 performances.

The Shanghai Expo added a glorious chapter to the Expo's rich history, with a record 70 million visitors. It had the most participating countries in the history of the world's fairs and was the first World Expo to take place in a developing country. It was the world's biggest fair site ever, covering 5.28 sq km and ranked second only to the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the largest international gathering hosted in China. It was also the first Expo to focus on urban life and marked the first time a virtual Expo was launched.

2. Corporate battles

Late in the year, two Chinese Internet giants triggered a public outcry. In November, following a dispute between China's largest Internet company Tencent, and Qihoo 360, Tencent announced that it would shut down the QQ instant-messaging service on computers installed with security software produced by Qihoo 360. Although government officials calmed the dispute, the companies' actions were seen as selfish and against user interests.

Also, a campaign of dirty tricks was launched by two dairy companies, China Mengniu Dairy Co and Yili Industrial Group Co, with the two competing in the slander game through online attacks. This put off the public and turned them off dairy products.

The disputes reflected the flawed nature of corporate culture. Intense competition posed a challenge to the idea of fair marketing.

3. Guangzhou Asian Games

China's biggest sporting gala after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 16th Asian Games opened in Guangzhou, in November. At the fabulous opening ceremony, officials prepared more than 40,000 rounds of fireworks, which were launched at 970 spots. The grand opening was a visual feast.

It was the largest-ever Asian Games, featuring 28 Olympic and 14 non-Olympic sports with 476 gold medals up for grabs. It saw the debut of cricket, dance sports, dragon boat racing, roller sports and Go chess. China fielded its largest ever-squad, which won 154 gold medals in a total medals haul of 304.

4. Spread of Confucius Institutes

In 2010, Confucius Institutes sprang up all over the globe. As of July 2010, there were 104 Confucius Institutes and 79 classrooms in 31 countries of Europe. Thirty-two countries in Asia had about 74 Confucius Institutes and 30 Confucius classrooms. Five new Confucius Institutes were established in Russia, bringing the total there to 17. Africa had 21 Confucius Institutes and four Confucius classrooms, while the United States had more than 60 Confucius Institutes and about 30 Confucius classrooms.

5. Glowing World Heritage List

China's Danxia Landform became the nation's eighth natural heritage site to be placed on the World Heritage List on Aug 1. The historic monuments of Dengfeng in Henan province also made the list. This decision took the number of China's world heritage listings to 40.

In 2010, traditional Chinese medicine's acupuncture and moxibustion and Peking Opera were added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Other intangibles, including Chinese wooden moveable-type printing, leak-proof technology of Chinese junks and the Uyghur folk performance Meshrep, were included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, on Nov 16.

6. The weibo phenomenon

The year saw weibo, or micro-blogging, emerge as the latest fad of netizens. Like Twitter - the world's leading micro-blogging service - weibo is used to share photos and stories with friends, follow news agencies, and keep up-to-date with the latest celebrity gossip.

7. Han Han's ranking in TIME magazine poll

Han Han, a professional race car driver, best-selling author and China's most popular blogger, ranked second in TIME magazine's poll of the most influential people in the world.

Han Han added another feather to his cap, as editor and producer of the magazine, Party, of which all 500,000 copies of the inaugural issue were sold just four days after coming out on July 6.

8. Google drops .cn, stops censoring

In March, Google announced it had stopped censoring its Chinese-language search engine Google.cn and was redirecting Chinese mainland users to another portal: Google.com.hk in Hong Kong.

Following that, Google continued to show confidence in the Chinese market.

9. Post-80s generation takes the lead

The nation's so-called "Beat Generation" - the post-80s generation - emerged to take the lead in may walks of Chinese society.

Athlete Liu Xiang took the gold in the men's 110m hurdles with a season's best 13.09 seconds at the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games.

In May, basketball star Yao Ming was once again chosen for the National Players List and Ding Junhui won the fifth round of the 2010 World Snooker Championship tour.

World-renowned pianist Lang Lang, ambassador of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, gave a stirring performance at the opening ceremony.

Jia Ling, crosstalk supremo, performed at the 2010 CCTV Spring Festival Gala to much acclaim and Chopstick Brothers, wrote, directed and played the leading roles in The Old Boy in 2010, which was also well received.

10. Dating Shows grow in popularity

A wave of dating shows wowed Chinese TV audiences, including If You Are the One of Jiangsu Satellite TV, Just For You of Hunan Satellite TV, and Rush for Love by Zhejiang Satellite TV.

If You Are the One created the biggest buzz because of its morally ambiguous and visually electrifying format. For some viewers, the show was more than a dating game; it was like a mirror reflecting current social values.
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