Binzhou Advanced Technology High School

New schoolyear

On 1 September 2020 we joined the opening event of the new schoolyear in the Binzhou Advanced Technology High School. See earlier post.

We left very early in the morning for the school, 7 a.m. (no breakfast), crossing once more the Yellow River.
In the large auditorium we joined the official event. There were several speeches, also one by myself as chairman of the board.

I then handed out the signed notebooks to the over 90 students, one by one, and taking a picture with each.
We later went to four classes where me and Dasha talked with the students. Dasha is a young lady from Belarus who works for UWEE and speaks fluent Chinese. We communicated mostly in Chinese as the students just started and their English is still very elementary. Many of the students plan to study abroad after graduation.

My short speech for the event

“I am happy to be here with you today for this important event.
It is my 4th visit to Binzhou. I am impressed by the quality and diversity of Binzhou’s education facilities, the elementary and middle schools, the universities, the vocational schools and professional training facilities.
Yesterday I talked about the challenges China and the world are facing, and the difficulties for all of us.
China has become a world power but it needs to face the challenges and become stronger and better. China needs well educated young people, who can make the bridge between China and the world.
I am sure this beautiful campus will give you the means to become international pioneers.
Study well and make China greater!”

Another tour of the school facilities

Workers were still installing air conditioners in the dormitories of the students.
The campus has a soccer field, running track and other sports facilities. There is a room for dancing and a large indoor hall for basketball and other, with showers and changing rooms.
Lunch was in the canteen where we approved the food served to the students and staff.

The pictures give a good idea about the quality of the installation, see also the previous post. Pretty impressive! We wish UWEE success with the operation and we hope next years to have over 1,000 students!

In the afternoon we drove back crossing the Yellow River and had a rest in the hotel; in the evening other program, will be in another post!

Schools in Shandong Binzhou

A busy 31 August 2020

This is the second article about our visit, exploring the schools in Shandong Binzhou.
We left the hotel in the early morning, crossed the Yellow River to first visit the Binzhou High-tech Zone Experimental School. It is a elementary boarding school set up in 2005. with 900 students. Seven years of education for students 6 to 14 years old.

See the pictures of the class rooms, the dormitories, the sport facilities, the canteen and also the art work done by the students. The installation is very modern and clean, a high standard really.
We met with the school board for the presentation of the school.

We then left for Binzhou Advanced Technology High School, where the students of the elementary school can continue their studies.

Binzhou Advanced Technology High School

See the pictures of our visit: the campus, dormitories, sports facilities, canteen, classes. We had a very nice lunch in a private room in the canteen.

The school, affiliated to UWEE, is a double-track-system school. They are aiming to strive for excellence and it is their responsibility to foster global-minded talents with an international perspective to implement the Belt & Road Initiative. The goal is to build a strong foundation on the basis of an education system of college entrance examination in China, while meeting the standard of international education, to truly achieve a seamless transition to prepare the students to be ready for the world from diversified and individualized learning and practices. English courses will be an important part, among other languages.

The school now has only 90 students, it just started operation in June 2020 and of course the virus made it all more complicated. The goal for next year is 2000 students.

The buildings are owned by the government who contributed 80% of the investment; the school is managed and operated by UWEE. It plans to have 30 foreign teachers, a few have started already.
Students pay some RMB 38,000 per year; UWEE pays RMB 8,000 per student to the government.

If anybody is interested to send students, give me a sign and Ms. Dasha of UWEE will provide all information. She works with the school and is also a great interpreter; from Belarus. You can see her in the pictures.

After the lunch we had the seminar, with several speeches. I gave the following speech:

200831 Binzhou_speech

I was a bit worried how my words would be received but the feedback was very positive, they basically agreed with me…
I then had to sign more than 90 notebooks for the students, to be given out the next day.

Lamb dinner in the city

In the evening we had dinner in a local restaurant, see the pics.

No health checks, mostly no masks… all very relaxed.

Trip to Shandong Binzhou

Another visit of Binzhou

We had another trip to Shandong Binzhou, leaving Beijing on 30 August and back home in Beijing on 2 September 2020. I have been there several times, the city is very modern and well managed, with a wide range of educational facilities as reported earlier.

I was a bit nervous to travel with all the COVID-19 issues but all went well, no problems with the Health App, no problem checking into the hotel in Binzhou, Guiyuan Hotel. Nice suite, of course zero English or foreign TV channels. At one time the hotel was completely full.

We drove by car, it took nearly 5 hours and about 4 hours back, thanks to the excellent driver Mark Geng of UWEE! See our usual stop on the highway, the fast-food where we bought our snack for the trip. We were also lucky returning to Beijing, it took some minutes to pass the control post on the Tianjin – Beijing highway.

The trip was organized by UWEE to participate in the Belt and Road International Talent Base Project Construction Seminar. I participated as the Chairman of the SAFEA Foreign Experts team, see here.
We were received by several departments: Binzhou United Front Work Department, Binzhou Foreign Affairs Bureau, Binzhou Beijing office, and Binzhou International Talent Exchange Association.
Organizer: Binzhou Advanced Technology High School; co organizers: Binzhou Medical College, Binzhou College, Binzhou Vocational College.

More details to come!

A sumptuous banquet

On our arrival we were treated by the local government to a sumptuous banquet with an immense amount of dishes. Baijiu and red wine flowed freely and one lady was an experienced drinker…

The banquet room had an interesting acoustics, allowing to hear the other participants on the other side of the huge table.
For those not familiar with those banquets, the pictures are educative… It was delicious! Hungry!

Interview posted on YouTube

Interview done in Beijing on 7 July 2020 in view of my appointment as chairman of the board of directors of Binzhou Advanced Technology High School. Location: Morel’s Restaurant. (Need VPN in China)

Foreigners in Livestreaming

No place for us

I reported earlier (https://blog.strategy4china.com/2020/09/livestreaming-in-china/) about the huge livestreaming market in China; well no foreigners in Livestreaming in China allowed, in any form.

As one of the many discriminations foreigners face in China, only Chinese ID holders can appear in livestreaming. Can you imagine that would be applied somehow in Western countries?

Xiaohongshu ruled that no foreign people will be allowed in front of a camera during live streams. It appears that this will not only apply to foreigners of non-Asian descent, but also East Asians who look like Chinese, such as Koreans and Japanese, according to users’ social media posts discussing the matter.
Source: https://thred.com/tech/chinese-face-tracking-tech-bans-foreigners-from-live-streaming/

Inke followed in the footsteps of Douyin and Kwai (Kuaishou).
Douyin, the Chinese sister app of TikTok, also bans accounts that featured foreigners when active streams are found and reported.

Constant monitoring

Official documents from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance have confirmed rumours that the viral video app is constantly running facial recognition technology to monitor and censor content on Douyin – China’s version of the platform.

Douyin may appear innocuous on the surface, but Chinese streamers are subject to an intrusive regime of automated surveillance every time they broadcast on the app. China’s Ministry of Culture had made noise pertaining to the banning of foreigners in livestreams back in 2017, but the rule has only started being enforced since China’s Security Law came into effect this July 2020.

A few weeks ago, a foreign national found himself booted from Douyin within ‘about a minute’ for appearing briefly in someone else’s livestream, and his story garnered a fair bit of attention online. His wife, who is a Chinese citizen, was broadcasting from their Beijing apartment and sidled over to ask how his day was going when the stream suddenly went dark. The foreigner took to Twitter to reveal that the pair had been met with an error message forbidding the presence of foreign users without ‘government permission’.

Kuaishou today

Had a look again at Kuaishou. That’s the only app I still have for this.

I am always a bit lost, as all in Chinese. Most of the screenshots are of recorded clips. The one with the cook is lifestreaming; you see me “entering the room”, bjprc. Notice how many people are following/commenting/joining…

Livestreaming in China

Big business

Livestreaming in China is big business.
See here:

Top 5 Apps You Need To Know https://pandaily.com/livestreaming-in-china-top-5-apps-you-need-to-know/ – Posted on July 17, 2020

It is estimated that more than 520 million people watch user-generated livestreams in China in 2020.
In 2019, the total revenue of livestreaming e-commerce industry reached 433.8 billion yuan, and it is expected to increase to 916 billion yuan by 2020. What sets livestreaming apart from other methods of marketing is its straightforward, highly targeted and efficient delivery of real-time content.
The top five:

  1. Inke was launched in May 2015 with the slogan that anyone can livestream and currently has over 25.5 million monthly active users
  2. Taobao Live is Alibaba Group’s dedicated livestreaming e-commerce channel.
  3. DouYu which literally translates into “Fighting Fish”, is an app by DouYu TV and was first launched in 2014. DouYu, the largest game-streaming platform in China, is backed by both Tencent and Phoenix Media.
  4. KuaiShou, literally meaning “fast hand”, which is also known as ‘Kwai’, was first launched in 2011 as ‘GIF KuaiShou’. It changed its name and function to what we know today in 2014.
  5. This #1 app spot should come as no surprise to many, and it rightly belongs to Douyin (or for the uninitiated, Chinese precursor to TikTok).

YINKE

October 2019: Yinke is the leader in the live streaming market in China. It’s the number one Live Streaming APP in China. As of October 14th, it was just ahead of QQ and below Alipay in terms of downloads on the Apple Store.
However, after using it for a while, my Apple shop informed me: “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Belgian store”.
Not sure why… I then tried a bit KuaiShou (still working).
I cannot download Douyin. I did try TikTok but not able to “register” and use. Not clear why.

A Wild East

Livestreaming already became a hot topic in 2016, see this China Daily article:
20 December 2016 – Live streaming offers instant fame
By Xinhua | China Daily
http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2016-12/20/content_27722542.htm

See also this article from 2016 where foreigners still appeared:
161016 LivestreaminginChina
Source: WalktheChat

There is/was a lot of strange stuff on livestreaming in China. See here some earlier screenshots, many “trans”, and many girls with a huge following. It’s big business as followers spend (a lot of) money to send “gifts” to their preferred girls (or boys).

I looked a bit around out of curiosity, even tried some posts but then gave up. Not my favorite pastime.

A booming market

More insight on how it started years ago:

“Click state: inside the machine churning out stars for China’s voracious live-streaming appetite.  With revenue set to surpass box office takings, online hosting is big business, spawning an entire industry offering training, work space and even loans for cosmetic surgery to women.”
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2087149/click-state-inside-machine-churning-out-stars-chinas-voracious

and:

“China live streaming: Would-be internet stars boost billion-dollar market”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-internet-livestreaming-idUSKBN17E0EV

More to report in next post!