Beijing 798 arts district

Blog 16


798 is a cool area I visited recently while in Beijing. You can read about my other adventures here.

798 used to be a military factory, one of the biggest in China. The buildings there were designed by a German designer and have a cool industrial look to them. The top of each building section is curved with big windows which lets the light in. The whole place is now divided up into many studios, cafes, and shops.

Beijing 798

Beijing 798

I shared in a previous post about the Hyundai gallery. They also have a neat air filter display which was titled “Cleanest air in Beijing.” It consists of a large glass walled air filter system with five filtration stages. It also included a long video screen showing different colored dots representing sensor data on measured pollutants flowing into the air filter system from outdoors. Cool!

Beijing 798 cleanest air exhibitMultistage air filterParticle counter display

We also saw the beautiful sculptures of cast metal shown below.

798 arts district

Crafts people are also selling various goods, including these neat sounding and colorful steel drums.

Steel drums

All in all, a bit commercial, but worth a visit I think.








Blue skies in Beijing and the power of deciding.

Blog 15


One of the most interesting things about my recent trip to Beijing was the sky – totally blue skies! Unbelievable! In the past, every trip to Beijing meant me getting sick from the pollution. Why are the skies blue now?

Back in November the Chinese government banned coal burning for all areas around Beijing. Just like that, the terrible pollution problems of Beijing are solved. This is one of the most amazing things about the Chinese government. When they make a decision to change something, it changes immediately. It is unbelievable. I don’t think any other large country in the world can make changes like this.

Another good example: I remember about 10 years ago, both China and USA both said they were going to invest in high speed rail. USA debated and talked about how and where to build rail, whereas China got to work building. China now has 25,000 km (16,000 mi) of high speed rail connecting the entire country built over 10 years. How much does the US have? In the US we have zero.

That’s the characteristics of a decisive government. It can be a good thing or a bad thing but you are guaranteed things will happen.





Stone lions at Forbidden City

Blog 14


I was revisiting all the big sights on my recent trip to Beijing, including the Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City has lots of dragons, but I like the guardian lions as shown in the picture above best. There are usually a pair of them guarding various palace entrances. And once you see them, you will begin to notice them all over Beijing, bronze lions and stone lions. One has a ball under its paw and the other looks like it is crushing a baby lion. Looks pretty scary. What are they? What do they mean?

The first lion is a male, and has his paw resting on top of a ball or sphere.  That is supposed to represent the yang male force and the paw on the ball represents dominance of the world. The second lion is a female and has her paw resting upon or restraining a child lion cub. This is supposed to represent nurture and the female yin force.

There is a famous Chinese tongue twister about stone lions

四 是 四 , 十 是 十 , 十 四 是 十 四 , 四 十 是 四 十 , 四 十 四 只 石 狮 子 是 死 的。

Pronunciation: sì shì sì, shí shì shí, shí sì shì shí sì, sì shí shì sì shí, sì shí sì zhī shí shī zì shì sǐ de.

Translation: 4 is 4, 10 is 10, 14 is 14, 40 is 40, 44 stone lions are dead.

Can you see why it’s difficult for foreigners to learn Chinese?