Beijing Workers Stadium story 5

The new look

Further to our previous post, in Beijing Workers Stadium story 5 some details on how the new Workers Stadium will be different.
A first glance came out in this article of the Beijinger on 1 March 2022.

It mentioned:

– The original layout of two tiers of seating has been changed to four tiers. Additionally, there will be lounges for fans to take a break from the match and enjoy food and refreshments.
– The reconstructed stadium will no longer have a running track. This means viewers in the lower seats will have closer proximity to the field – 8.5 m away from the action, to be exact. Moreover, around 2,000 seats will be added, bringing the total seating capacity of the stadium to 68,000.
– One of the biggest complaints about the old Stadium was that the narrow old roof just barely covered select seats on the uppermost parts of the stadium, with all other areas left uncovered. That won’t be a problem anymore, as the stadium will be equipped with a bigger roof that can cover the entire stadium, thus protecting visitors at all times, whether there’s rain or shine.
– A new underground commercial space will turn the area into an entertainment venue for people to eat, shop, and have fun. The underground complex will also act as a connection between the as of yet to-be-completed subway lines 3 and 7, with plans to connect the space to Taikoo Li in the future.

China Daily

See the article dated 4 October 2022 – “Major sports venue in Beijing to have new look”
“Beijing Workers Stadium, which was put into use in 1959 and has hosted a range of large-scale sports events – including the first National Games, the 1990 Asian Games and some events during the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics – will have a new look after a major reconstruction project that is expected to be finished by the end of the year.”

The article has more good pics of the construction, here the PDF: 221004 CDgongti.

The New Gongti Complex

Another great article in TheBeijinger dated 21 October 2022.
“What the New Gongti Complex Has in Store for Beijing”
See here the PDF with many pics and the interview with Jin Fei, the vice general manager of the operating company behind the remodel: 221021 New Gongti

“There are three main changes that have been made to Gongti. The original stadium had a running track, but after the revamp, the running track has been removed. Another big change lies in how Gongti will be used. More than 100,000 square meters of commercial facilities have been added to the complex, transforming the area into an entertainment venue where people can eat, shop and dine. The new stadium also features a giant underground plaza which soccer fans and fitness enthusiasts can explore.”

Above some pics of the 7 January 2023 article mentioned earlier.

Beijing News 20 August 2020

The online article in Chinese has some remarkable pictures.
Here another article dated 7 August 2020.
See here a few of the pics

The pics in this post are pretty unique!

Beijing Workers Stadium story 4

Progress made

In our Beijing Workers Stadium story 4 more about the progress of the works around the stadium and the other facilities under construction, a further update on our previous post.
On 10 October 2022 TheBeijinger published an update “Workers’ Stadium Nears Completion As New Additions Unveiled

On 7 January 2023 theBeijinger published an update “Workers’ Stadium Opening Pushed Back to March
I quote:

Construction on the New Workers’ Stadium complex is inching ever closer to final completion. But due to delays thanks to lockdowns at the end of the year, the time for New Gongti’s opening, originally set for December 2022, has been pushed back to March 2023, according to Beijing Evening News.
Be that as it may, the new stadium is an awe to look at, with the field itself having been fitted with turf, seating completed, and the two 300 square meter screens at either end of the stadium are currently undergoing testing. What’s more, the statue of workers has returned to its original spot in the complex’s north square, according to the Beijing Evening News report.
Construction on the roof and the facade of the complex ended in October of last year, with testing on interior and exterior stadium lighting still ongoing. As we reported in March of last year, the new Workers’ Stadium will have greater capacity: 2,000 new seats have been added to the total. Plus, four tiers of seating and the erasure of the original stadium’s running track means capacity will top out at 68,000.
Once completed, the New Gongti complex will not only be home to Beijing Guo’an football club, but the complex surrounding the stadium will host fitness, lifestyle, and dining, with a connection to the as of yet to be opened Beijing Subway Lines 3 and 17, which will have an interchange station under the stadium.
While it isn’t officially open yet, Gongti played host to a special New Year’s gala put on by BRTV, which saw the return of Cui Jian to Gongti, who first played at the original Gongti way back in 1986.

Taking shape

See how the subway construction building looked like at Shimao Gongsan shopping and now being dismantled. The subway construction building in the north-east gongti corner remains. The subway construction building in gongti south-east comer is also gone, all for Line 17.

See left of the stadium the concert hall on gongti dong lu nearing completion.
Some areal views late 2022, a screenshot about the first concert in January and the gradual cleanup around the stadium.

Lights on!

Late last year the stadium has worked hard to finish the lights on the roof

The lights have been tested many times.

Gongti West, South and East

See the construction at two locations (footh path) in Gongti West road, one is for an electric substation, the other one I am not sure.

Also the two big buildings on Gongti South and the other ones at the corner of Gongti south-east corner – those are still a bit of a mystery as mentioned in earlier posts. The outside seems nearly completed but they all look pretty empty.

Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 2

Belgian ambassador’s residence

As mentioned earlier, Mango TV was also shooting the residence. In this post Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 2, some details and pics.
For a whole day the TV crew invaded the residence and I admire the ambassador for his patience. I was myself not present, Renaat Morel was however one of the guest stars.

See some of the screenshots of the program and other pics.
The focus was on the typical products Belgium is famous for. Of course we have the cuisine, the many beers, the champions in cycling and our tourist attractions. And we are famous worldwide for the many cartoons. The focus was on the Smurfs.

Gilbert and cartoons

On 28 September 2018 I was invited to give a talk about Belgian culture in The 3rd China Int. Conference for the Investment and Trade of Cultural Industry, in the China National Convention Center. The talk covered only a small part of all the details I have on file on Belgian cartoons and folklore. Eduard van Kleunen, Counsellor of the Belgian embassy attended.

The title of my presentation was “Belgium: A small country with a rich culture (and exporting it)”.
Here the video of the talk, not great because too much focus on me and not on the slides.

Belgium has a long list of famous cartoons, see here the most relevant:

– The Smurfs (French: Les Schtroumpfs; Dutch: De Smurfen) is a Belgian comic franchise centered on a fictional colony of small, blue, human-like creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest.

– Asterix or The Adventures of Asterix (French: Astérix or Astérix le Gaulois) is a series of French comics. The series first appeared in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote on 29 October 1959. The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world, with the series being translated into 111 languages and dialects.

– Jommeke is a Flemish comic strip series in publication since 1955. It was created by Jef Nys and can be defined as a humoristic children’s adventure series. Jommeke, an 11-year-old boy, is the series’ main protagonist.

– Suske en Wiske is a Belgian cartoon series by Willy Vandersteen, one of the most popular ones in Belgium and also Holland. It started in 1945. In other regions: Chinese (Taiwanese version): Dada & Beibei – English (UK): Bob & Bobette (later: Spike & Suzy) – English (USA): Willy & Wanda.

– Robbedoes  & Kwabbernoot (Spirou & Fantasio) is one of the most popular classic Franco-Belgian comics. The series, which has been running since 1938, shares many characteristics with other European humorous adventure comics like The Adventures of Tintin and Asterix.

– Tintin (Dutch: Kuifje en Bobie)(French Tintin et Milou): The Adventures of Tintin is a series of 24 comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. The series first appeared in French on 10 January 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième (The Little Twentieth), a youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle (The Twentieth Century).

– Lucky Luke Comic book series: Lucky Luke is a Western bande dessinée series created by Belgian cartoonist Morris in 1946. Morris wrote and drew the series single-handedly until 1955, after which he started collaborating with French writer René Goscinny. Their partnership lasted until Goscinny’s death in 1977.

Shambhala and Barbados in Kempinski

Kempinski Hotel

The Rotary Club of Beijing had interesting talks about Shambhala and Barbados in Kempinski, in February.

Ms. Katrina is a regular visiting Rotarian to our Rotary Club of Beijing. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Barbados South. She invited H.E. Hallam Henry Ambassador of Barbados to the lunch, in Kempinski on 14 Fenruary 2023.
Katrina is a member of the Rotary Club of Barbados South. She joined th. e Club in 2003 and was among the first females inducted into Rotary in Barbados. In 2009 Katrina became the first female President of a Rotary Club in Barbados. Over her Rotary life, Katrina has served in several club officers’ roles, including Club Secretary. At the District level, Katrina has served as Assistant Governor, 2012-2014  and District Secretary, 2015-2016. She currently serves as the DEI Chair for District 7030 and Vice President of the Rotary of Barbados South. Katrina is passionate about youth programmes and youth service in Rotary, having been a past member of both the Interact and Rotaract Clubs. Katrina is an experienced Human Resources Management Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Throughout her 20-year experience of providing advisory services to clients in the Region, Katrina has assisted several organisations in strategy development and execution.

Katrina gave an introduction of Barbados and the activities of Rotary.
I was happy to invite for the lunch an old friend of the Club, Tom Stader of The Library Project.
He worked with our Club and as of March 2009, we have established 108 elementary school libraries. We’ve put more than 71,000 Chinese language children’s books into the hands of eager young readers. Over 22,000 children now have access to improved educational infrastructure. Together we are changing the world, one book at a time. See the results of the Library Project.

A welcome back Laurence Brahm

Laurence is also an old friend of mine and has visited our Club several times. He has quite some intereting stories about our Club from the early days.
Laurence has a rich past, in China and in other Asian countries. He also was a contributor to several newspapers.

More about him in this introduction. 230221 Laurence Brahm

His talk gave a fascinating insight in several little know aspects of Asian culture and philosophy.

Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 1

Ambassador’s Kitchen is a top-ranked program

In Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 1, an introduction to the program, the actors and how Belgium cuisine was in the focus.
Mango TV (芒果TV) is a Chinese media company controlled by state-owned Hunan Broadcasting System. Mango TV specializes in creating online videos and is an online platform providing content that is presented in TV channels from Hunan Broadcasting System and Hunan Satellite TV. Its current headquarters is located in Changsha, Hunan. Mango TV provides audience with diverse content including films, TV series, music, cartoons and entertainment.

The program was featured in this China Daily article dated 29 December 2022:
Ambassador’s Kitchen, a TV program aiming to embark on an “exotic” journey through mouth-watering foods, recently began shooting in Beijing.
The show features four celebrity hosts: actors Li Chen; Wu Chun; Laurinda Ho, the daughter of late Casino King Stanley Ho; and singer Liu Wei, as well as two guest stars, actress Sun Yi and singer Liu Wei. They will take Chinese and foreign cuisine as a “bridge” to exchange cultures.
Before the launch ceremony held in Sanlitun area in Chaoyang district, the six celebrities were divided into two teams and sent to the embassies of Argentina, New Zealand, Turkey and Thailand in Beijing, to shoot some footage.
Propelled by the stardom, the show’s hashtags have generated around 36 million “clicks” and drawn 119,000 netizens to discuss the related topics on Sina Weibo, an indicator for popularity in the showbiz industry.
Coproduced by Global Times Online and Beijing WiaoE Technology Co Ltd, the TV show was aired on Jiangsu Satellite TV, CCTV and Mango TV.

See other article:
“The ‘Ambassador’s Kitchen’ program warmly launched the re-enactment of exotic cuisine to integrate hospitality”

Belgium in the spotlight

There were several shootings done, in Morel’s Restaurant, in the residence of the Belgian ambassador and a “chef’s competition” in the building of Mango TV next to Taikooli North in Sanlitun.
Some of the stars who joined were:
Ms. He Chaolian, the youngest daughter of Stanley Ho (Laurinda Ho). When Chao Lian was born, the gambling king Stanley Ho was 70 years old.
Li Chen is a Chinese actor and director born in Beijing, known as a Superstar. He is known for being a member of the variety show “Keep Running!” since Season 1. Born on November 24, 1978. Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing shocked millions of fans when she revealed that she is breaking off her engagement with fiancé Li Chen. However, the story is not yet concluded…
All of them were very relaxed and friendly. Chaolian impressed us as she was not only pretty but friendly and a good cook.
Our Belgian ambassador H.E. Jan Hoogmartens joined most of the shooting, with an impressive cool and patience!

Morel’s Restaurant becomes a studio

On 20 December 2022 the massive crew of Mango TV transformed the restaurant in a studio with ceiling, outside and inside lighting. I don’t know the exact number but I guess over 15 camera were filming… Very impressive and so professional.

In this first post see some of the pictures taken in the restaurant and screenshots of the program. The staff was super excited to take a picture with the Superstar!
More to come in other posts.