Title

Cut Chives

The Year in Pictures

  • A rehearsal at the Tiantai Temple in Huanggang, Hubei province, November 22. Religious practice at Tiantai blends Buddhism with Western classical music. In 2008, Master Wule, a former musician, founded the temple’s orchestra “Guangxuan”––whose members number more than 40––to preach Buddhism and Zen philosophy through music. (Wang He/Getty Images)
    A rehearsal at the Tiantai Temple in Huanggang, Hubei province, November 22. Religious practice at Tiantai blends Buddhism with Western classical music. In 2008, Master Wule, a former musician, founded the temple’s orchestra “Guangxuan”––whose members number more than 40––to preach Buddhism and Zen philosophy through music. (Wang He/Getty Images)
  • Tourists ride camels on Mingsha Mountain in Dunhuang, Gansu province, during China’s National Day holiday, October 2. Dunhuang, an oasis in the Gobi desert, was a major center of international trade, art, and commerce on the Silk Road, as well as a religious pilgrimage site. (The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Photo )
    Tourists ride camels on Mingsha Mountain in Dunhuang, Gansu province, during China’s National Day holiday, October 2. Dunhuang, an oasis in the Gobi desert, was a major center of international trade, art, and commerce on the Silk Road, as well as a religious pilgrimage site. (The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Photo )
  • A freight train departs Xi’an for the Latvian capital of Riga during a ceremony to mark the 1,000th Europe-bound rail trip from Xi’an of the year, Shaanxi province, October 30, 2018. The vast railway network China has laid across Central Asia is a key element of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. (Lao Qiang/ImagineChina)
    A freight train departs Xi’an for the Latvian capital of Riga during a ceremony to mark the 1,000th Europe-bound rail trip from Xi’an of the year, Shaanxi province, October 30, 2018. The vast railway network China has laid across Central Asia is a key element of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. (Lao Qiang/ImagineChina)
  • Melting snow obstructs a road in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, March 7. As the world’s largest emitter of carbon, China produced 4.7 percent more greenhouse gases in 2018 than in 2017, marking its sharpest increase since 2011. Although the country is promoting renewable energy, the government’s attempts to boost the economy have led to the loosening of environmental regulation of heavy industries. (Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone)
    Melting snow obstructs a road in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, March 7. As the world’s largest emitter of carbon, China produced 4.7 percent more greenhouse gases in 2018 than in 2017, marking its sharpest increase since 2011. Although the country is promoting renewable energy, the government’s attempts to boost the economy have led to the loosening of environmental regulation of heavy industries. (Wu Huiyuan/Sixth Tone)
  • An evening view of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and its entrance to a cross-sea tunnel in Hong Kong, October 3. The world’s longest sea bridge, it opened in October and spans 34 miles (55 kilometers), linking Hong Kong and Macau to the cities of the Pearl River Delta. The $20 billion bridge is an element in the Greater Bay Area plan, a government initiative to form a high-tech zone that ties Hong Kong and Macau to China’s southeast coast. (Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
    An evening view of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and its entrance to a cross-sea tunnel in Hong Kong, October 3. The world’s longest sea bridge, it opened in October and spans 34 miles (55 kilometers), linking Hong Kong and Macau to the cities of the Pearl River Delta. The $20 billion bridge is an element in the Greater Bay Area plan, a government initiative to form a high-tech zone that ties Hong Kong and Macau to China’s southeast coast. (Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)
  • Buildings that were destroyed during the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake are seen from the window of another ruined building, in Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County, Sichuan province, May 11. May 12th marked the 10-year anniversary of the catastrophic Sichuan Earthquake that killed more than 15,000 people. (Wang He/Getty Images)
    Buildings that were destroyed during the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake are seen from the window of another ruined building, in Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County, Sichuan province, May 11. May 12th marked the 10-year anniversary of the catastrophic Sichuan Earthquake that killed more than 15,000 people. (Wang He/Getty Images)
  • The aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong, September 17. According to meteorologists, Mangkhut was the world’s most powerful storm in 2018. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
    The aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong, September 17. According to meteorologists, Mangkhut was the world’s most powerful storm in 2018. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
  • Edith Lam plays with Garlic, a five-year-old greyhound she adopted from the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome, in Macau, June 2. Asia’s only legally regulated greyhound racetrack, a centerpiece of Macau’s gaming tourism history, shut its doors in July. After rallying for years to shut the Canidrome, animal rights groups, along with local authorities, are now seeking homes for 533 greyhounds abandoned when the track was shuttered. (Kin Cheung/AP Photo)
    Edith Lam plays with Garlic, a five-year-old greyhound she adopted from the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome, in Macau, June 2. Asia’s only legally regulated greyhound racetrack, a centerpiece of Macau’s gaming tourism history, shut its doors in July. After rallying for years to shut the Canidrome, animal rights groups, along with local authorities, are now seeking homes for 533 greyhounds abandoned when the track was shuttered. (Kin Cheung/AP Photo)
  • Two women abandoned as infants hug each other, in Putian, Fujian province, June 9. Since the 1960s, thousands of infant girls have been sold from Changle to Putian, a wealthier part of Fujian 60 miles away. Some raised these girls as their own, but others treated them like maids, or “tongyangxi,” pre-adolescent daughters raised to be married to their “brothers.” The centuries-old practice was revived between the late 1970s and 2016, when China’s one-child policy was in effect. (Liang Yingfei/Ciaxin)
    Two women abandoned as infants hug each other, in Putian, Fujian province, June 9. Since the 1960s, thousands of infant girls have been sold from Changle to Putian, a wealthier part of Fujian 60 miles away. Some raised these girls as their own, but others treated them like maids, or “tongyangxi,” pre-adolescent daughters raised to be married to their “brothers.” The centuries-old practice was revived between the late 1970s and 2016, when China’s one-child policy was in effect. (Liang Yingfei/Ciaxin)
  • He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong, November 28. Two days prior to the conference, He announced that he created the world’s first gnomically-edited babies. The experiment was regarded as unethical by many scientists, but He has said he is proud of his work.  (Kin Cheung/AP Photo)
    He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong, November 28. Two days prior to the conference, He announced that he created the world’s first gnomically-edited babies. The experiment was regarded as unethical by many scientists, but He has said he is proud of his work. (Kin Cheung/AP Photo)
  • Student activists hold banners at a protest in support of Jasic Technology workers’ efforts to unionize, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 6. At least 10 protesters were detained across several cities, including students from top universities, as part of a wider government crackdown on student activism on behalf of workers. (Sue-Lin Wong/Reuters)
    Student activists hold banners at a protest in support of Jasic Technology workers’ efforts to unionize, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, August 6. At least 10 protesters were detained across several cities, including students from top universities, as part of a wider government crackdown on student activism on behalf of workers. (Sue-Lin Wong/Reuters)
  • China’s President Xi Jinping bows before his speech during the closing session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 20. Legislators passed an amendment to abolish the two-term limit of the presidency, opening the door for Xi, who is also General Secretary of China’s Communist Party, to rule in perpetuity. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
    China’s President Xi Jinping bows before his speech during the closing session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 20. Legislators passed an amendment to abolish the two-term limit of the presidency, opening the door for Xi, who is also General Secretary of China’s Communist Party, to rule in perpetuity. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • A relative of a passenger on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 walks on the street before a press conference held by the Malaysian investigation team, in Beijing, August 3. In May, the last search effort for the flight that went missing four years ago ended without any new findings. (ImagineChina)
    A relative of a passenger on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 walks on the street before a press conference held by the Malaysian investigation team, in Beijing, August 3. In May, the last search effort for the flight that went missing four years ago ended without any new findings. (ImagineChina)
  • Lin Shengbin, whose wife and children died in an arson attack, takes a walk at the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, in Sertar county, Tibet Autonomous Region, January 6. In June 2017, Lin’s nanny, Mo Huanjing, deep in gambling debt, made a plan to set fire to her employer’s home and then extinguish it, hoping the family would reward her financially. The fire killed Lin’s three children and wife. Mo was sentenced to death and Lin, tormented by his loss, converted to Buddhism. (Li Qizheng/Sina)
    Lin Shengbin, whose wife and children died in an arson attack, takes a walk at the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, in Sertar county, Tibet Autonomous Region, January 6. In June 2017, Lin’s nanny, Mo Huanjing, deep in gambling debt, made a plan to set fire to her employer’s home and then extinguish it, hoping the family would reward her financially. The fire killed Lin’s three children and wife. Mo was sentenced to death and Lin, tormented by his loss, converted to Buddhism. (Li Qizheng/Sina)
  • Rescuers watch as wreckage of a bus is lifted out of the Yangtze River in Wanzhou, Chongqing, October 31. The bus crashed and plunged into the river, leaving no survivors. A video released by the police shows that a passenger attacked the driver after she missed her stop and the driver refused to let her off halfway. The driver fought back and lost control of the bus. All 15 people, including the passenger and driver, died in the crash. (Chinatopix via AP Photo)
    Rescuers watch as wreckage of a bus is lifted out of the Yangtze River in Wanzhou, Chongqing, October 31. The bus crashed and plunged into the river, leaving no survivors. A video released by the police shows that a passenger attacked the driver after she missed her stop and the driver refused to let her off halfway. The driver fought back and lost control of the bus. All 15 people, including the passenger and driver, died in the crash. (Chinatopix via AP Photo)
  • A green dome topped with a silver crescent moon rests on the ground after being removed from a mosque in Tongxin county, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, May 26. As China’s government has escalated its campaign of repression of Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, China’s Hui Muslims, who live throughout China, have also begun to face new constraints on their religious practice. Local authorities have started to “transform” Islamic architecture, stripping it of its defining characteristics. (DW News)
    A green dome topped with a silver crescent moon rests on the ground after being removed from a mosque in Tongxin county, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, May 26. As China’s government has escalated its campaign of repression of Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, China’s Hui Muslims, who live throughout China, have also begun to face new constraints on their religious practice. Local authorities have started to “transform” Islamic architecture, stripping it of its defining characteristics. (DW News)
  • Chinese Bishop Joseph Li Shan, center, walks down the aisle during a Holy Saturday mass on the evening before Easter at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing, March 31. In September, the Vatican signed a controversial deal with China acknowledging the Chinese Communist Party’s power to nominate bishops. Meanwhile, the government ramped up its policing of “unauthorized” Protestant churches. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo)
    Chinese Bishop Joseph Li Shan, center, walks down the aisle during a Holy Saturday mass on the evening before Easter at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing, March 31. In September, the Vatican signed a controversial deal with China acknowledging the Chinese Communist Party’s power to nominate bishops. Meanwhile, the government ramped up its policing of “unauthorized” Protestant churches. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo)
  • Xianzi, who accused a prominent TV host of sexual assault, poses for a portrait in Beijing, November 29. The TV host, Zhu Jun, is the highest-profile target of China’s #MeToo movement. In July Xianzi, who uses only her nickname, recounted on her social media account how Zhu had groped and kissed her when she was an intern at his television station. The post went viral, Zhu sued her for defamation and Xianzi then filed suit against Zhu for infringement of personal dignity. (Du Yang for the Financial Times)
    Xianzi, who accused a prominent TV host of sexual assault, poses for a portrait in Beijing, November 29. The TV host, Zhu Jun, is the highest-profile target of China’s #MeToo movement. In July Xianzi, who uses only her nickname, recounted on her social media account how Zhu had groped and kissed her when she was an intern at his television station. The post went viral, Zhu sued her for defamation and Xianzi then filed suit against Zhu for infringement of personal dignity. (Du Yang for the Financial Times)
  • A dog and its owner at a local pet food shop in Shanghai, September 15. Chinese pets and their owners have become collateral damage in the trade war between the United States and China. A tariff China imposed in July made pet food imported from the U.S. more expensive. Pet spending is a huge and growing market in China. Many owners prefer imports because of concerns about the safety of domestic pet food. (Yuyang Liu for The New York Times)
    A dog and its owner at a local pet food shop in Shanghai, September 15. Chinese pets and their owners have become collateral damage in the trade war between the United States and China. A tariff China imposed in July made pet food imported from the U.S. more expensive. Pet spending is a huge and growing market in China. Many owners prefer imports because of concerns about the safety of domestic pet food. (Yuyang Liu for The New York Times)
  • Abandoned share bikes are piled up in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, March 27. In recent years, some 60 companies have sprung up to give the tech-savvy, app-happy generation an easy way to get around: shared, dockless bikes.The companies battled to seize market share and ended up dumping more than 20 million cheap, brightly colored bikes onto China’s streets. Many bikes now sit unused in vacant lots and many of the companies that made them have now collapsed. (Wu Guoyong)
    Abandoned share bikes are piled up in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, March 27. In recent years, some 60 companies have sprung up to give the tech-savvy, app-happy generation an easy way to get around: shared, dockless bikes.The companies battled to seize market share and ended up dumping more than 20 million cheap, brightly colored bikes onto China’s streets. Many bikes now sit unused in vacant lots and many of the companies that made them have now collapsed. (Wu Guoyong)
  • A Uighur woman walks through a new town constructed to house people relocated from a remote village, as part of a national poverty alleviation program, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, October 4. Authorities in Xinjiang have incarcerated some one million Uighurs as part of a campaign of religious and cultural repression China’s government construes as a method for preventing terrorism. (Chen Jie for ChinaFile)
    A Uighur woman walks through a new town constructed to house people relocated from a remote village, as part of a national poverty alleviation program, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, October 4. Authorities in Xinjiang have incarcerated some one million Uighurs as part of a campaign of religious and cultural repression China’s government construes as a method for preventing terrorism. (Chen Jie for ChinaFile)

2018 gave us many opportunities to look back at China’s past—the tenth anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympics, the 40th year since the country began its policy of Reform and Opening. This year also brought changes that thrust the familiar, very suddenly, into history—the only greyhound racing stadium in Asia was shut down, ending its five-decades long operation; the peer-to-peer lending industry collapsed under regulation after years of explosive popularity, leaving tens of thousands users bankrupt; and China entered a trade war with the U.S. 17 years after earning a seat in the WTO.

Stories already in motion as the year began suddenly appeared more prominent: the development of Belt and Road Initiative, a still-escalating crackdown on freedom of religion and of the press, domestic and international concerns about the high-tech sector, and the mainland government’s tightening control over Hong Kong.

Across China individuals took actions in an attempt to right past wrongs—one brave woman after another came forward to bring #Metoo to China; daughters abandoned during the one-child-policy era decided to search for their families; a man who lost his wife and children tried to find peace in Buddhism. Someone coined the term gejiucai“cut chives”—to describe the many things about China that return, even after they’ve been sliced away. Gejiucai, spread like a weeds on China’s internet, appearing in discussions of corruption’s resurfacing in the wake of a crackdown. But the label was also used on Chinese citizens themselves, who even, and perhaps especially, when thwarted—by fickle markets, or fraudulent schemes, or unreliable politicians—sprout new hope and keep coming back for more. —Muyi Xiao