Replacing Wrinkles With Muscles: Chinese Senior Citizens Who Are More Athletic Than You

 

Whenever I spend time with family members in their 50s and 60s, they like to remind me that my 20s are my prime years and physically, things will only go downhill from this point on. They usually follow this up with horror stories about joint and muscle pain, but I won’t go into that.

Now as it turns out, if I were talking to some of the senior citizens in Beijing, China, the conversation would be very different. In fact, I may find a few who would challenge me to a push up contest. And trust me– they would win.

Head over to Beijing’s Temple of Heaven Park and you will see it covered in senior citizens. No, they’re not there peacefully feeding pieces of bread to ducks (which would have been my initial guess). They’ve taken over the jungle gym to work out.

And these aren’t just tiny, delicate work outs either. Men are doing sit ups while hanging from metal bars, women are jump-roping and just about everyone seems to be able to do pull ups better than I ever could.

You may be surprised to discover that many of these athletic senior citizens didn’t actually exercise before retiring. With a job to maintain and kids to raise, many admit to not even caring too much about their physical fitness in their younger years. Now retired, the senior citizens finally have time to focus on exercise.

As expected, China’s life expectancy seems to have benefitted from this senior citizen hobby. Huffington Post notes:

Despite rampant cigarette smoking, suffocating pollution and some ghastly food-safety scandals, China compares favorably with other upper middle income countries on life expectancy. At 75.2 years, China’s life expectancy currently lags only 3.5 years behind that of the U.S., despite China having around one-eighth of America’s per-capita GDP.

 

Check out this video below and see their athletic skills for yourself. Keep in mind that nearly everyone in this video is over 60-years-old and retired. In fact, the man in the beginning is 86 and ran a marathon just four years ago.

 

China’s Bizarre “Face-Kini” Makes It To French High Fashion

 

Back in 2012, a Chinese beach accessory known as the “face-kini” began attracting worldwide attention.

The term face-kini gained online popularity years ago when Time Magazine showed off a picture of some Chinese beach-goers who wore the bizarre mask. Now, it seems the craze is back, but not in the way you’d expect. Recently, French magazine CR Fashion Book had their models sporting (you guessed it) face-kinis.

 

 

Despite the undeniable popularity of the face-kini, the beach accessory was never actually worn for the sake of fashion in China. The full head mask, often paired with a long-sleeved body suit, was a hit in China because of its ability to protect its user from the sun. The accessory helped with Asia’s questionable obsession with pale skin.

“I’m afraid of getting dark,” a face-kini wearer explained to The New York Times. “A woman should always have fair skin. Otherwise people will think you’re a peasant.”

 

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While China used the mask as a way to retain paleness, CR Fashion Book, which was created by former editor-in-chief of French Vogue Carine Roitfed, saw the masks as an opportunity for fashion.

Check out the French fashion photos below and tell us what you think!

 

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Heartwarming Video Of Chinese Soldiers Dancing With Young Yunnan Earthquake Victims

 

How does one pick up the pieces and resume his or her life after experiencing a traumatic earthquake with a 6.5 magnitude?

On August 3, this became the question for the thousands of Chinese netizens from Ludian County in Southwest China’s Yunnan province who had survived the powerful earthquake that killed more than 600 people, injured 2,400 others and destroyed thousands of buildings, as well as 80,000 homes.

 

 

In light of the major damage the earthquake caused, more than 10,000 soldiers and volunteers rushed to the scene to help. Some of the soldiers, however, upon meeting dozens of heartbroken children who had lost their homes and family members in the quake, took it upon themselves to try and lift the spirits of the children.

Together, they taught the children China’s famous “Xiao Ping Guo” dance, from a song that has gone viral since it was featured in the movie Old Boys: The Way of The Dragon.

 

 

This video, now circulating all over social media in China, has melted the hearts of netizens everywhere. One user commented, “Finding strength does not necessarily mean crying — optimism is the best weapon you can hold on to when facing difficulties. Thank you soldiers, for this little act of kindness and your warm and generous love!”

Feature photo courtesy of xw.qq.com

 

First Chinese Woman To Successfully Climb K2, One of the World’s Deadliest Mountains

 

For those of you unfamiliar with Mount Godwin-Austen, also called K2, it is the second highest mountain in the world following Mount Everest. With a peak elevation of 8,611 meters above sea level (28,251 ft) and subject to frequent, severe storms, it is also one of the deadliest and most difficult mountains to climb in the world. In fact, it is estimated that one in every four people die from trying.

Luo Jing, 39, however, recently became the first Chinese woman to successfully climb K2, which also makes her the fourth Chinese person ever to reach the summit. But this was no new challenge by any means for the single mom. Prior to the 41-day expedition, Luo already had seven other 8,000 meter level summits conquered under her belt. She even quit her job in the IT industry in 2008 to continue her lifelong dream of conquering 14 summits, the goal she set for herself.

 

 

As you can imagine, climbing mountains is no easy task regardless of gender and it is also the reason that Luo has developed a passion for this hobby.

Different from other sports, mountain-climbing has no female or male distinctions,” she tells China Daily. “Everyone has to face the same conditions and depend on themselves as soon as they start climbing, and no one can give you particular care because you are female.” She also admitted, however, that it has been increasingly difficult to persuade fellow females to embark on this dangerous journey with her. 

 

Feature photo courtesy of Women of China 

 

Chinese Student Rejected From College Because of Disability, Reminds Us Not To Take Education For Granted

 

As any high school senior would know, applying to college can be in itself a stressful situation. Just thinking about the application process, financial aid and, of course, waiting around for the letter that will ultimately determine your future, is enough to cause a whirlwind of unnerving emotions.

In the grand scheme of things however, it’s easy to forget that most of us are lucky to even have the option of going to college at all. Especially when we live in a world where girls in other countries, like activist Malala Yousafazi, are banned from going to school under the Taliban rule because of their gender.

 

 

Fujian student Liu Wanling, a bright girl who regularly achieved high grades in her classes, unfortunately faced a huge obstacle when she applied to Jiang Xia College. Though she had scored 549 on her gaokao (the national college and university entrance exam), she was denied admission due to failing a physical test, because she is handicapped. For those of you unfamiliar with the gaokao test, it is the ultimate test that determines a student’s placement into university. Unlike the SAT, the gaokao can only be taken once a year, which means it is the only shot that most Chinese students have at attending their dream schools.

 

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According to Shanghaiist, Liu received a phone call by the university, who asked her if she would be willing to change to a less popular major. Liu agreed, but after a meeting was held by the school, as well as a discussion with doctors, they came to the consensus that she would not be able to attend the university. Disheartened by the news, Liu told reporters, “I’ve already prepared myself for the worst, but even if I try again next year, will I still be denied admission?”

Liu’s story was later posted by a user on Weibo, and immediately attracted the attention of many Chinese users. As of today, there are over 600 comments from angry netizens on the trending topic, defending Liu and even calling China “an abyss that kills people’s hope.”

 

How Technology Helped a Chinese Soldier Marry the Love of His Life

 

In this day and age, with the rapid development of technology, pretty much anything is possible. We’ve seen everything from hologram waiters to virtual girlfriends in Japan, and it seems like each latest device or invention is even more bizarre than the last.

But sometimes, technology can also be used to fulfill a man’s simple wish to get married to the love of his life when he can’t physically be there on his own wedding day. Now this we can definitely appreciate.

Xinjiang army soldier Liang Tao was set to marry his fiancée, surnamed Yang, on July 26. Sadly, though he was already on leave, Liang was called into a mission that required him to stay in Xinjiang, as he was the only leader available. Deciding to put his duties first, Tao and his fiancée called off the wedding — only to be surprised by the commissioner of the army, Zhang Jiang Guo.

 

 

Having heard of Tao’s plans to marry, Guo decided to throw the couple a surprise video wedding. Guo and Tao’s fellow army soldiers were able to connect Tao to his wedding via satellite, where he appeared on a screen at the wedding ceremony.

Though this was nowhere near ideal for the bride, Yang reportedly burst into tears as she saw her husband’s face on the screen. She expressed her gratitude to the Xinjiang army, saying, “Thank you for everything you prepared for me. Although my husband is not with me here right now, this is a more meaningful and unforgettable wedding than others.”

Check out the happy couple’s wedding pictures below:

 

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Photos courtesy of Shanghaiist

 

Why You Need To Know Chinese Actress Yao Chen

 

She is currently one of China’s most popular award-winning actresses, she’s been placed on Forbes‘ list of 100 Most Powerful Women at age 34, and she’s gorgeous. Those are just some of the many, many reasons you should get to know Yao Chen, Chinese actress, activist and philanthropist.

Named by Time Magazine as China’s “darling” of romantic comedies, the Fujian province native has starred in an a variety of films and shows, debuting in the TV drama City Man and Woman in 2002. Chen has also appeared in a slew of well-known Chinese films such as Firestorm and Colour Me Love, as well as Sophie’s Revenge, where she starred alongside A-listers Fan Bing Bing and Zhang Zi Yi.

Though she has enough awards under her belt to make any actress in the industry envious, that is not the sole reason why Chen currently has an unbelievable amount of followers on social media. She was even nicknamed the “Queen of Microblogging” because of her impressively large fan base of more than 71 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese microblogging service, surpassing Katy Perry’s 54.8 million Twitter followers.

 

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Yao Chen’s street style is pretty amazing, too.

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Turns out, the Chinese darling is way more than just a pretty face — Yao Chen also has a heart to reach out to others. According to China Daily, in 2010 she was named as UNHCR’s (UN’s Refugee Agency) first Chinese honorary patron, and in 2013 she was named Goodwill Ambassador of China by the same agency. That year, she took her first trip to Mae La, a camp in western Thailand to visit Myanmar refugees, and later on donated to UNHCR’s relief fund for people affected by the drought and famine in Africa.

Continuing with her philanthropy work, Yao recently took some time off her glamorous celebrity life and visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon, paying for the trip with money from her own pocket.

Of course, this was certainly no romantic getaway as one can imagine, and she was constantly in danger. Even after safely returning to China, she still has recurring nightmares. “On the way home from the grocery store, I find my house has been bombed. Everybody is running and crying. I cannot find my family. Then I survive alone in ruins …” she told China Daily about her nightmare. Sadly, this was reality for many of the refugees she had met, who had fled to Lebanon and sought shelter in old buildings, garages and storehouses.

 

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During her time in Beirut, Lebanon, the actress also had a number of scares, as car bombs frequently were set off in the city and noises of gun shots were constantly heard on the streets. Still, with an admirable attitude, Yao told China Daily that she would still have gone even if she had known about the amount of danger she would be put in. And though she admits she feels like there is not much she can do to help the refugee’s situation, she feels that her time there was well spent. “Our visit can’t change their fate or current situation, but it will draw attention from others, and I can share the area’s condition with more and more people,” she told China Daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of China Daily.

 

 

Chinese Doctors Bow For An 11-Year-Old’s Selfless Decision

 

These bowing doctors are not the only ones in awe of 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi. This image, along with its inspiring story, has been circulating all throughout China. Everyone seems to be impressed with this selfless young man who proved that children are most certainly capable of doing what is noble and good.

Liang was a fifth grader in Shenzhen, China. Despite his young age, he already knew that he wanted to save lives as a doctor in the future.

“There are many people doing great things in the world,” he told ChinaDaily.com. “They are great, and I want to be a great kid, too.” Well it was only a matter of time before Liang fulfilled that longing.

In April, Liang was diagnosed with brain cancer and even after multiple surgeries, his body could not handle the cancer. There on his deathbed, Liang told his parents about his final decision: After he died, Liang wanted to donate his organs so that he could help others live.

 

 

Soon after, the brave 11-year-old passed away. Touched by his incredible selflessness, Chinese doctors bowed to Liang before performing the surgery.

Although he didn’t end up becoming a doctor, Liang managed to fulfill his wish of saving lives. According to China Daily, the boy’s kidney and liver were successfully transplanted to people in need.

 

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Why This Chinese Artist Recreated Noah’s Ark in China

 

Ninety-nine stuffed animals recently sailed into the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, on a little fishing boat. But no worries — though the scene may have shared a resemblance to Noah’s Ark from the Bible, it isn’t some type of apocalyptic warning. In fact, it was to raise awareness of a major ongoing issue in China.

By now, you’ve probably heard an infinite number of horror stories depicting China’s terrible water pollution situation, including the one where some 16,000 dead pigs were dumped and found in the same Huangpu River last year. Why is this especially a major issue? The Huangpu River supplies the city with some of its drinking water. Having grown up in Shanghai myself, I nearly went into cardiac arrest when word broke out.

Sadly, even with all the media attention, not a lot has actually been done to relieve the problem. This is where New York-based Cai Guo-Qiang stepped in with his art piece, titled “Ninth Wave”, to promote his cause of putting an end to water pollution.

 

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Photo courtesy of Shanghaiist

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Shanghaiist

 

Cai produced each and every single one of the 99 animals, along with the boat in his hometown of Fujian, China. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cai explained the concept behind the mini ark: “The creatures are depicted as near death — as though seasick from the currents of our times.” As for why he chose 99 animals, he reportedly said that it is a number that symbolizes “infiniteness” in China. 

 

Disabled Chinese Woman Wins the Hearts of Netizens

 

As a girl with two perfectly usable legs, I still wobble in shoes that come with heels higher than two inches.

When pictures of 26-year-old Er Ma Ayie surfaced on social media in China, she put girls like me to deep, deep shame. The Sichuan-native not only has just one leg she manages to fiercely walk the streets of China, in a 7.8-inch heel on her left leg, no less. Quite fashionably too, might I add.

As her pictures began circulating around Weibo, she won over men and women in China everywhere and was quickly deemed the “Asian Venus” for her strength and beauty. But she’s not just known for her graceful looks — she also has an inspiring story.

Er Ma, as you can imagine, did not always walk so confidently. When Er Ma was only 3 years old, she was in a tragic car accident that left her with an amputated right leg. Due to the placement of the amputation, she wasn’t given the option of a prosthetic leg. Thus, Er Ma grew up insecure, forced to cope with the circumstances she was given.

Er Ma also grew up an aspiring singer and received much praise from her teachers. After graduating high school, she became a kindergarten teacher, specializing in teaching kids how to sing. Later, at the age of 19, she was recruited to sing for Chengdu Disabled Art Troupe. Though she admits she had “never been as happy as that day,” she remained apprehensive because of her leg. She believed that she needed to wear long gowns and high-heeled shoes in order to achieve the image of an elegant singer she always envisioned.

 

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Despite her insecurities of not being able to wear high-heeled shoes like her fellow singers, she gave it a try anyway. She even recalls almost breaking her leg the first time she attempted it. But she never gave up, and eventually she trained herself to walk in the high heeled shoes pictured above. Now, with much more confidence, Er Ma recently told reporters, “Luckily I didn’t give up trying to wear it. Now I can wear a 20-centimeter-high heel very confidently. I feel I am no different from the other girls.”

When told that photos of her walking in heels had gone viral on social media, she said, “I am surprised to hear that … I am actually a common girl.” She added that she hopes that the photos perhaps “opened people’s hearts and helped them to cope with their own defects.”

Er Ma’s self-assurance continued to grow from there, and she even took up yoga and badminton, among other physical activities that she never thought she would be able to do. “We should never let our body defects affect our mental health,” she said. “As long as your heart beams, your outward appearance won’t dim.”