What’s behind the government clampdown on city farms and gardens? That, the introduction of the newest member of our team, and more in this month’s What’s New.
Iconic Toy Store to Open in Beijing
Toy-lovers of all ages are rejoicing at the news that FAO Schwarz is opening a branch in China World Mall. The iconic New York store is best known from the movie Big, in which Tom Hanks famously dances on its floor piano, but the Fifth Avenue location closed down suddenly in 2015. Now it’s reopening, not only in the Big Apple, but also in Beijing and Shanghai. The store is expected to be in business by March 2019, so start practicing your “Chopsticks”!
Disaster for Dolce & Gabbana in China Racism Row
Chopsticks were the cause of a disastrous PR snafu for fashion company Dolce & Gabbana. An ill-judged advertisement depicting a Chinese model struggling to eat pizza with chopsticks caused some offense, but it was comments allegedly made by founder Stefano Gabbana (pictured left, together with D&G co-founder Domenico Dolce) on his Instagram account when asked about the advertisement that triggered a major backlash. A fashion event in Shanghai was canceled, and D&G products have been removed from stores across China. While they engage in a damage limitation exercise, a Beijing hotel manager has also been forced to apologize, after a post complaining that Chinese men missed the urinal was taken amiss. It’s worth remembering that anything posted on the web is public, and whatever frustrations we might occasionally feel about life in the capital, any venting is probably best done in private.
Beijing Authorities Close City Farms and Gardens
Following the “Great Brickening” which closed so many cafes and bars in the hutong area, the latest government clampdown has been on city farms and gardens. In October, Green Cow City Cafe was ordered to get rid of all its livestock. This was followed by the news that Thomas Holly, known as the Herb Whisperer, has lost his botanical garden due to compulsory purchase by the government. In the south of the city, the owner of The Roots western restaurant, Antoine Mansuy, was devastated to lose 80 percent of the herb garden he had lovingly grown on waste ground to supply fresh herbs for his kitchen. The reason given was that the owners of the mall needed to run pipes through the land. However, the closures come in the wake of a clampdown on polluting urban pig farms, and at a time when African swine fever has been discovered in Beijing pigs. If the disease spreads it could be devastating for China, which produces half of the world’s pork. However as so often, we might applaud the good intentions, while wondering if a more nuanced approach could have produced better results.
Welcome Nicole, and Happy Holidays to Our Readers!
We’re very pleased to welcome Nicole Bonnah to the beijingkids team, as our new Associate Content Planner. You may know her as the entrepreneur behind delicious Halo Hummus, and you can read about her perspective on life as a busy Beijing mom on our website. From Nicole and from all of us, whatever festival you may be celebrating this winter, we wish you a joyful and peaceful holiday season.
This article first appeared in the beijingkids December 2018 Charity and Goodwill issue.
Photos: Uni You, Kipp Whittaker, Wikimedia Commons, Flickr