Pu Derong’s Exquisite Eggshell Carvings

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What do you get if you combine an egg, a carving knife and a pair of able hands? In Pu Derong’s case the answer is a breathtaking work of art. The 40-year-old self-taught artist from China’s Hebei Province can guide a knife across an egg’s thin shell to create amazing three-dimensional designs.

“I had always been fascinated by eggs as a child,” Pu says. “They are so fragile. Artists use canvases; eggs are mine.” The talented artist from Dongzhuangtou village showed a great interest in painting and calligraphy from a very young age, but he didn’t have the financial resources to attend a specialized art school, so he taught himself. In his adult years he did all kinds of manual labor, worked as a repairman and as a chef, but never gave up on his passion for art. One day, he discovered eggshell carving completely by accident, and he’s been hooked ever since. He made his own carving knife, and after hundreds of failed attempts, he started to master the art of carving on a fragile 0.3 mm eggshell canvas, creating all kinds of beautiful designs, from nature-inspired patterns, to Chinese traditional motifs and architectural pieces. Today, he is recognized as one of China’s most skilled artists, and his masterpieces have won several awards in various contests and exhibitions.

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China’s Walking School Has Children as Young as Eight Marching 1,000 Km across the Country

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The Xu Xiangyang Education and Training Workroom, or the Walking School is an atypical educational facility which enrolls Chinese problem children and forces them to walk up to 1,000 kilometers through across the country in order to teach them discipline and make them take responsibility for their actions.

In a Chinese society which leaves no room for failure, spoiled kids, school dropouts and troublemakers risk getting left behind in a competitive race for success. To make sure that doesn’t happen, parents who have exhausted all other options enroll their children in the Walking School, a special boarding school based in Chengdu which forces them to march cross-country all day long and teaches them military discipline. Founded by ex-army veteran Xu Xiangyang, this correctional facility is inspired by the Red Army’s long march in the 1930s, and has a reputation of turning ineducable delinquents into outstanding members of society. Children between between 8 and 18 are brought here, often by force, and left to deal with the hardships of military life to hopefully change their ways.

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Look But Don’t Bite – China’s Mouthwatering Stone Food Banquets

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Petrified pasta, juicy braised pork, rocky dried fruits and many other delicious-looking dishes are all part of China’s rare stone food banquets. The spread is nice to look at, but trying to sneak a bite will cost you a few teeth.

People in the mountainous regions of China know how to appreciate beautiful rocks, and some spend their whole lives gathering different kinds of rocks, scouring specialized stone shops and trekking through rugged mountain passes and desserts in search of unique additions to their collections. Strangely shaped or colored rocks are considered a feast for the eyes, and stones that resemble food are considered even more wonderful. It takes a lot of time and luck to find naturally shaped pieces of carnelian or jade that look good enough to eat, but dedicated stone collectors have proven it’s possible, on a number of occasions. Organizing stone food banquets is a long-standing Chinese tradition, and even in modern times it manages to draw media attention and keep stone collecting popular.

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Chinese Human Snail Carries His Home on His Back Wherever He Goes

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38-year-old Liu Lingchao is a real-life human snail who carries his 60-kg-heavy house on his back wherever he goes. Made of bamboo poles and plastic sheets, the portable home provides shelter on Liu’s long travels through China.

Liu Lingchao makes a living selling plastic bottle and metal cans he picks up from the streets of various Chinese cities. The man from Rong’an, Guangdong Province, built his first mobile home five years ago, as a way to save money on his long journeys, and for protection against rain and cold weather. Liu found life as a snail to his liking, and has since then worn out three bamboo huts. His newest one is 1.5 meters wide and and 2.2 meters tall, offering him just enough room for a modest bedding and his travel necessities. Its 60 kg weight is not exactly easy for one man to carry, so Liu really is moving at the pace of a snail along China’s roads, but it beats having to look for shelter wherever he goes, and says the fact that he can settle down virtually anywhere he wants is worth the effort. The human snail left Wuzhou City several months ago, and is now just 20 miles away from completing an epic 270-mile walk and returning to his home town.

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Chinese DIY Wiz Builds His Very Own Scrap-Part Robot

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Tao Xiangli, a 37-year-old inventor from Beijing, China, has spent over 150,000 yuan ($25,000) and more than 11 months building a functional robot made of scrap parts and wires bought from second-hand markets.

In China, Tao Xiangli is known as a DIY genius, with a collection of amazing home-made creations under his belt. Three years ago, he made headlines in international media after building a submarine all by himself, and today he’s back to with another impressive achievement – a 496lb (225kg) robot he pieced together in his small Beijing apartment. “He’s ugly, but he’s kind of awesome,” Tao said about the  2.1-meter-tall metal behemoth  that can apparently perform simple movements and even mimic human actions by using infrared rays. It can turn its neck, raise its legs and even shake hands at the flick of a switch on the board located on its back. Instead of crating a humanoid casing for his robot, Tao Xiangli decided to leave it “naked”so viewers could see every one of the over 110 scrap parts and 3,000 lengths of wiring required to make it work. To make it easier on the eyes, the young Chinese inventor fitted his robots with strips of bright neon cabling.

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Frustrated Chinese Owner Smashes His Maserati with Sledgehammers

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The Chinese owner of a Maserati Quattroporte worth $423,000 paid three men two smash it with sledgehammers at the 2013 Qingdao Auto Show, because he was disappointed with the way the car dealer had fixed it.

The man known only as Wang told Chinese media he had bought the car in 2011 and was forced to bring it back for repairs only two months later. He said the dealer charged him for new parts, but they really replaced the faulty components with second-hand ones. Later, the staff failed to fix a problem with the car door and even managed to scratch it. That was apparently more than Wang was willing to take, so he decided to deliver a loud and clear message to Maserati. He waited for the Qingdao Auto Show and tipped off the media to show up for an unforgettable spectacle. On the day of the show, he brought in his luxury car draped in a banner accusing Maserati of poor service, and paid three men to smash it with sledgehammers, in front of hundreds of onlookers. They shattered the car’s windscreen, headlights, grill and mirrors, and left some serious dents in its metal body. “I hope foreign luxury car producers acknowledge clearly that Chinese consumers are entitled to get the service that is commensurate with the brand,” Wang said.

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Chinese Company Boss Has Employees Crawling on Their Knees in Public

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You thought your boss was bad? He’s probably a nice guy compared to the boss of this cosmetics company in Chongqing, China, who recently forced his employees to crawl on their hands and feet in the city’s busy commercial district, in front of hundreds of onlookers.

The controversial event took place on May 2nd, and broadcast live on many Chinese users’ microblog accounts. Later, photos taken by bystanders showing the humiliated employees crawling on their knees with their heads facing the pavement were posted online, causing even more outrage. Some people even notified the police, who showed up on scene and cleared the area. It turns out it was all just a drill ordered by the company boss, who wanted to test his workers’ resistance to pressure. And what better way to do that than have them crawl like dogs in front of strangers taking photos and laughing at them, right? Most likely, he wanted to see how much humiliation his employees were able to bear, so he could exploit them to the maximum without them quitting. If something like this happened in a Western country, the boss would probably be taken to jail or at least sued for damages, but according to Chinese media reports, all the police did in this case was “criticize” and “educate” the cosmetic company’s leadership. Inhumane working conditions all over China have been reported in the past, but this is just borderline slavery.

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Man Leaves Water On All Winter Creating Spectacular Frozen Waterfall

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This amazing waterfall seen frozen on the side of a building in Jilin City, Eastern China, is the work of 58-year-old Wen Hsu, the only remaining resident, who left the tap on all winter to make sure his uninsulated pipes didn’t freeze.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you left the water on for an entire winter, here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for – a giant frozen waterfall. The bizarre sight looks like an original work of art, but it was actually born from one man’s fear of being left without running water. 58-year-old Wen Hsu has been living in the same apartment building for the last 35 years. As was the case in many other cities around China, the property was recently scheduled for demolition, to make room for a new shopping center. Developers tried to settle the matter by offering apartment owners a sum of money so they could buy another home some place else, but Hsu says he refused their offer because it wasn’t enough to get a decent place, so even after all the neighbors moved out, he remained in his old apartment. The loneliness was hard enough to deal with, but this past winter he had a bigger problem to deal with. The cold temperatures threatened to freeze the water in the building unisulated pipes, leaving him without running water, and with no other choice than to leave. But he’s not one to give up easily, so he came up with a weird plan…

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Eyeball Scraping – The Vanishing Trade Practiced by Sichuan Barbers

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Barbers in China’s Sichuan Province have practiced the art of eye-cleaning with a sharp blade for centuries. Like many other ancient traditions, this dangerous trade is slowly vanishing, but you can still find a few barbers willing to scrape your eyeballs with a knife for as little as RMB5 ($0.80).

According to an old Sichuan saying, cleaning the eyes makes the beauty of life more visible, and some people are prepared to go under the knife to make sure they don’t miss a thing. Nicknamed “knife-blade eye cleaning”, the practice of scraping a person’s eyeballs and eyelids with sharp utensils has been a part of Chinese culture ever since ancient times. The craft was supposedly popularized by brothers Zhou Chengfu and Zhou Chengyin, who followed their father’s footsteps and excelled in the technique of servicing the eyeballs, ears and necks of clients, but in recent years it has almost died out. Still, if you look hard enough, you can still find eye-cleaning stands even in modern cities like Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu. 53-year-old Liu Deyuan has been successfully running his small eye-cleaning business for 7 years, offering a head shave and an eye scrape for just RMB5. With many long-term clients lining up to get their eyes cleaned every month, the skilled barber says business is still pretty good.

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Man Has Been Wearing a Deer Head Mask Every Day for Four Years

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Luo Dan, a painter and designer from Chonqing, China has been wearing a big deer mask over his head every day since 2009. He claims the bizarre accessory has helped him find inner peace and release the deer within.

Finding artistic inspiration can be pretty tough for an artist, but for 32-year-old Luo Dan it’s as easy as putting on a mask, literally. The young painter says he started wearing his weird deer head in 2009, and quickly got used to putting it on while working and in his spare time. “The deer is a tame animal,” he explained. “Wearing its mask, I could find a long-missing inner peace. When I wear the mask, I feel I am a deer from within.” The fake animal head has also influenced his art, taking a center role in most of his works. Dan doesn’t know exactly how long he’ll keep wearing the deer head, but considering the therapeutic powers he attributes to the mask it’s unlikely he will be taking it off anytime soon. I can understand keeping it on in the privacy of his home, but this guy seems to take the head with him everywhere he goes. I wonder how people react when he comes up to them wearing the ridiculous disguise? It must be really difficult to take a guy wearing an animal mask seriously…I always knew artists were a little cooky, but this is too much.

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Chinese Student Staged Her Own Funeral So She Could Enjoy It

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Zeng Jia, a 22-year-old student from Wuhan, China, shocked family and friends when she invited them to a rehearsal of her own funeral so she could take part in the festivities while she is still alive.

The young student told members of the press that she got the idea for the morbid event after realizing that people spend a lot of time and effort on someone when they’re gone, and they never get the chance to appreciate and enjoy it. Determined not to let that happen to her, Zeng Jia used up all her saving to arrange an elaborate funeral service complete with a coffin, flowers and origami birds, as well as photographers and a crowd of mourners. She then invited her family and friends to take part in the unusual festivities. Believe it or not, some of them actually attended, and got the chance to look at the young girl as she lay in her coffin, with a Hello Kitty doll on her chest. To make the whole thing look and feel realistic, Zeng even hired makeup artists who specialize in working on dead bodies to give her that coveted past-away look. She spent an hour playing dead, as all her relatives and friends passed by her coffin to say their final goodbyes, after which she jumped out to attend the wake and even delivered a eulogy in her honor.

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Fangweng – China’s Cliff-Hanging Restaurant

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Trekking in the mountains generally means having to survive on packaged food; but not if you’re in China. There’s a particular mountain in the Hubei Province, 12 km north of the city of Yichang, where you can actually experience fine-dining on the side of a cliff. Located in the Happy Valley of Xiling Gorge, the Fangweng hanging restaurant offers a breathtaking view of its natural surroundings to adventurers brave enough to set foot in it.

The dull brick building that acts as an entrance to the Fangweng Restaurant simply doesn’t do the place justice, and it’s only after you pass through it that you can give yourself a pat on the back for discovering such a unique venue to experience Chinese cuisine while admiring the natural beauty of Xiling Gorge. Unless you’re afraid of heights, in which case the 30-meter-long narrow concrete bridge hanging on the side of a vertical cliff overlooking the Yangtze River might just be your worse nightmare. Luckily, there’s a metal railing you can grab on to while you crawl your way to the actual restaurant. The bridge leads to a dining hall carved into the cliff-side, where most of the tables are set. Warmly lit by traditional lamps hanging from the ceiling and decorated with Chinese furnishings, the cave itself is a sight to behold, but the main attractions of Fangwen are the two concrete platforms extending away from the cliff, from where diners can see all the wonders of Happy Valley or watch bungee jumpers as they leap off a nearby bridge.

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Chinese Gaming Addict Has Spent the Last 6 Years in an Internet Cafe

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China’s growing problem with internet and video game addiction is probably best described by the case of Li Meng, a young man who has virtually been living in an Internet cafe for the last six years, leaving only to buy food and take the occasional shower.

According to Chinese media, Li Meng graduated from university six years ago, but unlike most of his peers, who went on to look for jobs, make a name for themselves and start a family, he opted for a life in the fantasy world of online gaming. Ever since he finished school, Li has spent most of his time in one of the many internet cafes in China’s Northeast city of Changchun. The owner of the place says he’s been there for such a long time that he’s basically part of the furniture, and doesn’t even notice his presence anymore. He spends every day and night tucked away in a corner, with an open bag of food by his side, staring at the monitor and mashing the keyboard and mouse buttons, leaving for brief periods of time to catch a bite to eat and take a bath. Reporters who visited the young Chinese gamer at his “workplace” described him as a pale “bespectacled youth that clearly hadn’t been to a hairdresser for a long time”.

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Fire Facials – Setting Your Face on Fire in the Name of Beauty

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Women have always had to endure a certain amount of pain to make themselves beautiful. But how far is actually considered too far? Apparently, there isn’t a limit to what Chinese women would do to look good, even if it means setting themselves on fire.

The photograph below shows a woman with a thick yellow face-pack, a towel covering half her face and two balls of fire over her eyes. Yet she looks completely unperturbed. Taken by a Chinese girl when she accompanied her mother to the beauty parlor, the pic has been doing the rounds of several websites ever since it was posted on a Chinese message board last month. Along with the pic the girl posted this message: “My mom went to get her face done at the beauty salon so I went with her. What I saw… instantly shocked me… I couldn’t look.” Well, she did look long enough to get a nice shot of her mom’s eyes on fire.

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China’s MMO Video Game-Inspired Restaurants

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Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) video games are very popular in China. Combine that with the country’s culture of fakes and copycats and you get lots of unofficial merchandise and even venues  inspired by popular virtual reality universes. One such place was the World of Warcraft-themed restaurant on Chaoyang Road, in Beijing.

Opened in 2008, by a businessman who just happened to also be a huge fan of Blizzard’s fantasy universe, the unique World of Warcraft restaurant was designed entirely around the MMO and its original opening cinematic. Created as a “comfortable gathering place for fellow gamers”, this place had Warcraft-inspired decorations, dishes named after locations in the game and plasma screens showing live footage from the MMO world. The large banner above the entrance featured the game’s logo, an Alliance mage and a Horde warrior, as well as the crests of the two playable races. This would have probably been enough to attract the millions of Chinese fans who live and breathe World of Warcraft, but the entrepreneur really went all out trying to make the restaurant itself appeal to die-hard gamers.

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