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by Xinhua writers Yuan Quan, Jia Zhao

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Kuo, 58, forever associates his art with Chairman Mao Zedong.

In the 1970s, when he was a middle school student, houses and streets in Beijing were posted with woodcut prints of the "great helmsman" during Spring Festival.

He was fascinated by the traditional folk art, but dared not try at that time, because any mistake on the Chairman Mao portrait could incur "anti-revolutionary" accusations.

Forty years later, he is now known as "the last master of Beijing's woodcut New Year prints."

The art - "nianhua" - dates back more than 600 years to when people put woodcut prints on doors and walls, and the gates of palaces, to ward off devils or express good wishes in traditional festivals.

Subjects varied from place to place, but Beijing natives preferred pictures of gods, heroes, ancestors, folk tales and Peking operas.

Zhang's family lived in a hutong alley near the Forbidden City. He learned carpentry, including woodcutting, from a neighbor at a young age, before being employed as a truck driver on road construction projects.

In 2007, he travelled to Shaanxi and Henan provinces, where he found local woodcut print artists still thriving. Zhang was inspired, and determined to return to the craft.

He bought wood and spent months in libraries and antique shops, seeking traditional prints, books, and carving knives. He rented a small house as his studio in a hutong in downtown Beijing.

Woodcut printing has four steps. He usually sketches a picture on a piece of paper before carving it on a set of boards. He paints the boards in different colors. Lastly, he presses a piece of paper to the board to print the picture. In bygone days, the steps were sometimes done by different craftsmen, but Zhang does them all himself.

For a decade, he has spent hours each day carving, often forgetting to eat.

His early work drew little attention. For a long time, he sold two or three paintings a month, each priced just 20 yuan. He earned a living from running a restaurant.

Machine-made prints sell much cheaper and faster, but Zhang is unfazed by the competition. He comforts himself with a Chinese saying: "Soft fire makes sweet malt."

Though woodcut prints bring in little money, he is rewarded with skill, joy and contentment.

In the past, woodcut printing was a low-paid job. Industrialization made the skills rare and the craftsmen more respected. Zhang's story has been covered in newspapers and books, and attracted a lot of attention on social media.

He and his wife are frequently invited to demonstrate at temple fairs and exhibitions. Last year, he was invited to teach at primary and middle schools to inspire the next generation's interest in the traditional art, which was added to China's intangible cultural heritage list in 2006.

He has also tried to bring modern culture into the art, including Chinese and foreign cartoon characters in his work, and printing on shopping bags.

The Monkey King, the map of Middle-earth from "The Lord of the Rings" and popular Japanese cartoon and video game characters are also on his printing list.

His favorite piece of work is a QR code stamp that took three days to carve. He uses it on each print so that customers can scan it and reach him on WeChat.

Zhang never tires of sharing his work and traditional folk art on social media, posting several times a day.

He finished a rooster design before the Lunar New Year, and now is busy carving a portrait of Confucius.

His biggest wish is to hold an exhibition of his prints: "For a craftsman, being respected matters more than making money."

PARIS Men's Nike Free CR7 Metcon Trainers White Clearance , Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A total of 13 finals will take place in morning sessions at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Monday.

Among the morning session finals are all five road events - the men's and women's marathons, the men's 50 kilometers race walk and the men's and women's 20km race walk events Men's Nike Hyperdunk X Black White Clearance , although both 20km race walks are scheduled to take place in the early afternoon.

The other morning session finals are the women's 10,000 meters, the men's and women's discus Women's Nike M2K Tekno White Pure Platinum Clearance , the men's triple jump, the men's and women's 3,000m steeplechase Women's Nike Shox OZ 801 Black Pink Clearance , the men's 400m hurdles and the women's hammer.

The decision, approved during an IAAF Council meeting in Monte Carlo last month, means the Olympic Games will feature finals during the morning sessions of the athletics program since Seoul 1988.

"Staging finals in the morning was done at the request of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and the Olympic Broadcasting Service Women's Nike Shox OZ D Peach Black Clearance , supported by the International Olympic Committee," said IAAF competitions director Paul Hardy.

"Having finals in the morning will also ensure that we receive maximum visibility for athletics at the Olympic Games across all time zones."

The athletics showpiece event, the men's 100m final Men's Nike Shox Gravity Luxe Green Strike Black Clearance , is scheduled for the evening session on Sunday August 14, with the women's version taking place the evening before.

The 10 days of athletics competition at Rio 2016 due to be staged from August 12 through to the last day of the Games on August 21.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- In her first testimony to the Congress Nike Shox Gravity Men's Black Green Clearance , U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated central bank's plan to taper its stimulus exit despite recent weakness in the economy.

The current economic situation and outlook, as well as the monetary policy, were the main focus of the hearing held twice a year.

Yellen told lawmakers she expected "a great deal of continuity" in the central bank's monetary policy Nike Shox Gravity Metallic Gold Grey Men's Clearance , saying that she served on the Fed policy-setting committee as the bank formulated its current policy strategy and she strongly supported that strategy.

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