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Over 300 Chinese students flunk postgraduate exam


Sydney: Over 300 Chinese students flunked an examination of a masters degree program at the University Of Sydney in Australia, a media report here said. About 37 percent of more than 1,200 students were given a failed grade in a postgraduate business course at the University of Sydney. Most of them were Chinese students, reported the Global Times on Wednesday. Cecily Huang, the author of the Global Times article, worked for the Guardian Beijing office as a researcher and news assistant and is currently studying for a Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney.


“It must be something wrong with the system! It was not only me; more than 300 Chinese students failed this exam,” a Chinese girl screamed on the phone as Huang traveled on a train between Epping and Central here — the outburst evoked her journalistic instincts and led to the article thereafter. The massive flunking event has escalated since some Chinese students have sought appeals against their results. Although the University of Sydney attributes the problem to students’ English level, language is certainly not the main reason. Every Chinese student had to get a relatively high English score to be accepted to the masters program. The subject is called Critical Thinking in Business, one of the core units required to complete a Master of Commerce. In this exam, all the questions were open-ended.
“I am not surprised Chinese students lack critical thinking, because under the Chinese education system, most Chinese students learned chiefly how to respect authority, and how to seek one standard answer,” said Huang.”Once Chinese students are given different options, they get confused and frustrated. They are not used to a more exploratory learning style. “In real life, there is no standard answer but more options and solutions. Unfortunately, we do not know it until we begin real work,” she said. Most Chinese students who came to this business program had just finished their bachelor degree in China. “Without any working experience, how could they analyse business cases with critical thinking? It reminded me of a student, from my journalism program, who wanted to report on the Gaza war without even basic knowledge of the background.”
“The business students I have interviewed told me they worked very hard, but the results were completely unexpected,” Huang said. According to her, “hard work” does not necessarily lead to good marks in a masters program. It requires effort, as well as interest and creativity. “In China, we study to pass the ‘gaokao’, or to find a job with decent salary, not for love of the subject. I am so tired of being questioned by my very concerned relatives, ‘How much money do you make’ or ‘how much can you get for your published article’. They do not care whether I enjoy my job or what my article is about.



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Why Tea is so popular Worldwide? India’s Tea Genome sequencing project will not replicate work done by Chinese

Genome mapping helps to decode the genetic controls linked to different characters of tea that govern its yield, quality and other attributes

Tea. Pixabay
  • Genome is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism
  • Chinese researchers announced on May 1 they have successfully sequenced the genome of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis, known as tea tree
  • Genome mapping helps to decode the genetic controls linked to different characters of tea that govern its yield, quality, and other attributes

Kolkata, June 5, 2017: India, which recently launched its tea genome sequencing project, is not going to replicate the work done by the Chinese but instead aims to develop climate-smart tea plantations with the genomic boost, an official here said.

We launched the project in the first week of April and a Chinese group published a paper on their work a month later. Many are of the opinion that India has, perhaps, missed the bus. We are not replicating the work that China has done. Our target cultivar is Assam type (Camellia assamica) and that is Indian-origin tea, Biswajit Bera, Director (Research) at Tea Board of India, Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Monday.

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Once the project is completed, we are going to have a climate smart tea plantation wherein we will target development of tea cultivars according to our own need, he said.

In a study that offers clues why tea is so popular worldwide, Chinese researchers announced on May 1 they have successfully sequenced the genome of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis, known as tea tree, for the first time, Xinhua reported.

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The genus Camellia contains over 100 species, but the most popular varieties of tea, including black tea, green tea, Oolong tea, white tea, and chai, all come from the leaves of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis.

India’s tea genome mapping project involves six institutes — three Tea Research Institutes, National Tea Research Foundation (NTRF), ICAR, CSIR. This exercise will help in the development of superior tea cultivars using genome sequence information, Bera said.

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This will be a two-phased programme. We will generate huge genetic resource information which will be co-related with field data specifying different traits or characters. Like, for Darjeeling, we are targetting the disease blister blight. For different areas of tea plantation in India, we are targetting different traits which will be co-related with this genome sequencing. In addition, the genetic data will also aid in developing package and practices to overcome adverse climatic stress, Bera said.

Genome is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism. Genome mapping helps to decode the genetic controls linked to different characters of tea that govern its yield, quality and other attributes.

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Bera, a botanist, said there are three main tea varieties: India tea (Assam), China tea and hybrid tea.

Bera was speaking at a workshop on ‘Sustainable Development of Tea-Gardens and Issues of Urban Wetland’ organised here by IIT Kharagpur and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Around 40 students and faculty from both institutions, who are jointly researching the tea gardens in North Bengal, participated in the event. (IANS)

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China bans a Tibetan festival as villagers refuse to fly Chinese Flag

Communities refusal to fly the Chinese national flag leads to the ban of the Tibetan festival

Chinese flags fly at a Tibetan monastery in an undated photo. Image SOurce: Radio free Asia listener
  • The Tibetan horse-race festival and a religious gathering were banned by authorities in China’s Sichuan province (was slated to be held on August 5)
  • The festival is called Sang-sol in which villagers burn juniper branches
  • The monks and Tibetan community refused to fly the Chinese national flag 
  • The race was to be held on August 5th but due to the possible protests against Chinese rule it was prohibited

There is another news of Chinese repressive regime in Tibet. Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province have banned a traditional Tibetan religious gathering and horse-race festival after participants refused to fly the Chinese national flag at the events, sources in the region and in exile say.

The annual gathering, in which villagers burn juniper branches to propitiate mountain deities for timely rainfall and a good harvest, was to have been held at the beginning of August, with the horse race to follow on Aug. 5, a former Tibetan political prisoner now living in India told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

The juniper-burning ceremony, called sang-sol, was organized by Dargye monastery in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) county in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, RFA’s source said, citing contacts in the region.

“But this year, the Chinese ordered the monastery and Tibetan villagers to fly Chinese flags from the monastery and from people’s homes, and the monks and the lay community refused to comply, saying this had never been done before,” he said.

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“Authorities then prohibited the prayer gathering in retaliation,” he said.

The horse race and other cultural displays—including a lion dance and performances of traditional Tibetan opera-—were likewise banned, he said.

The monks and laity had already spent large sums of money to prepare for the events, he added.

Annual religious gatherings in Tibetan-populated regions of China have greatly increased in size in recent years, as thousands of Tibetans gather to assert their national identity in the face of Beijing’s cultural and political domination.

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Fearing possible protests against Chinese rule, security forces often monitor and sometimes close down events involving large crowds. (RadioFreeAsia)


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Li Ching-Yuen: The 256 year-old Herbalist lived on a diet of Herbs

Researchers have called Li's claim "fantastical". Many say that his claimed age at death, 256 years, is a multiple of 8, and, as such, is considered good luck in China

Li Ching-Yuen
Li Ching-Yuen. Image source: buzznigeria
  • Li Ching-Yuen was believed to have lived for 256 years, although the claim in unverified
  • He worked as a Herbalist, with a diet of herbs and rice wine
  • Li had 24 wives with around 200 children in his long lifespan 

“Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog.” This is the advice the 256-year-old man gave a few months before his death through the Time issue of “Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog”, on May 15, 1933.

Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese herbalist who used to sell selling lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shou wu and gotu kola along with other Chinese herbs and lived off a diet of these herbs and rice wine. Supposedly, at 72 years of age, in 1749, he also joined the army of provincial Commander-in-Chief Yeuh Jong Chyi, as a teacher of martial arts and as a tactical adviser. He died on May 6, 1933, in Kai Xian, Sichuan, Republic of China and was survived by his 24th wife, a woman of 60 years.

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Li Ching-Yuen
Li Ching-Yuen. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Li reportedly had 24 wives in total, and gave birth to 200 children. In a New York Times article, it is said that according to old men in his neighborhood, he was already a grown man when they were still quite young.

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Li claimed he was born in 1736, although a few controversial reports suggest his birth dated back to 1677. In both cases, he would have lived 197 or 256 years, which is more than the current official and verified report that have registered a record of 122 years, held by Jeanne Calment, a french lady.

It may be noted that gerontologists and experts, have always been skeptical about these claims. According to them, theories of attaining longer lives by following certain philosophies, diets and religious practices, which often surface in the east, are usually unfounded claims.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96