China Takes Aim at Hip-Hop, Saying ‘Low-Taste Content’ Must Stop

Pei Li, Adam Jourdan
Reuters
China’s censors have a new target in a widespread clamp-down on popular culture: the country’s nascent hip-hop scene, which resonated with Chinese youth last year on hugely popular television show “Rap of China.”

A Life-Size Replica of the Titanic Is under Construction in China’s Countryside

Rob Schmitz
NPR
The film moved Su Shaojun, the developer overseeing the project, so much that when he became a developer 15 years later, he proposed building a resort and theme park featuring a replica.

Americans Can’t Agree If They Loved or Hated ‘the Last Jedi.’ but China Definitely Hated It

Bloomberg
Fortune
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” brought in an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend in China, coming in below its two predecessors in the world’s fastest-growing market.

China to Open Cultural Center in Jordan

Zhou Xin
Xinhua
China will launch a cultural centre to promote Chinese culture in Jordan and to enhance ties between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Jordan Pan Weifang said Monday.

Culture

01.05.18

Reflections on ‘Youth’ and Freedom—A Conversation with Feng Xiaogang and Yan Geling

The movie “Youth” is the first collaboration between Feng Xiaogang, the celebrated Chinese director, and prolific novelist Yan Geling. It is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about the time both spent in the People’s Liberation Army during...

The Traditional Chinese Dance Troupe China Doesn't Want You to See

Nicholas Hune-Brown
Guardian
Shen Yun seems like a kitsch dance troupe. But Beijing sees it as the propaganda wing of the Falun Gong movement, and a threat to their rule – and hounds the dancers from city to city, trying to sabotage their shows.

Mulan: Disney Casts Chinese Actress Liu Yifei in Lead Role

BBC
Disney has picked Chinese actor Liu Yifei to play Mulan in an upcoming film, following accusations against Hollywood of ‘whitewashing.’

“Coco” Looks Like a Surprise Hit in China—Where It Technically Should Be Banned

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
Coco, Pixar’s latest animated movie, beat two superhero films to top the US box office over Thanksgiving weekend. It could also become one of Pixar’s top-grossing films in China—a country where the studio has struggled to win over audiences.

China’s Art of Containment

Geremie R. Barmé
On the evening of May 20, 1989, in response to weeks of mass demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government placed Beijing under martial law. The following morning, in Hong Kong, far to the south, Wen Wei Po, the main Communist-...

A Chinese Novelist Is Found in Translation

Taras Grescoe
New York Times
Xue Yiwei, who has been hailed as China’s “most charismatic literary stylist,” is virtually unknown among English-language readers.

Features

10.26.17

A Brooklyn Gospel Choir Goes to China

Jocelyn Ford & Yuyang Liu
Pastor Frank Haye was quietly nervous as he paced the lawn around the temporary stage at one of China’s biggest rock festivals.It was the last day of concerts by rock, electronic, and metal bands, and in a few hours, his Brooklyn gospel choir would...

Sexual Life in Modern China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, Chinese writers grappled with the traumas of the Mao period, seeking to make sense of their suffering. As in the imperial era, most had been servants of the state, loyalists who might criticize but never seek to...

Chinese Museum Pulls Exhibit Comparing Animals to Black People

Russell Goldman and Adam Wu
New York Times
A section of the “This Is Africa” exhibit at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan included side-by-side photographs of animals and people displaying similar expressions. One pair included a young boy and a howling chimpanzee, each photographed with...

“We Could All Be Potential Refugees”: Ai Weiwei on the Epic Journey Of “Human Flow”

Gary M. Kramer
Salon
Ai shot 900 hours of footage and conducted 600 interviews over the course of a year, and edited the film over six months.

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Secures China Release Date (Exclusive)

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
A disappointing North American debut has placed added pressure on the major Asian territories where the film has yet to open, led by the massive China market.

This Year's Oscar Contenders from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Are the Perfect Lens into the Places They're From

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
The Oscar nominations coming from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China have not attracted much buzz internationally, but each region’s submission touches on issues in that capture the ambitions, desires, and insecurities of its people. Taken as a trio, they...

From Innovation to Provocation, China’s Artists on a Global Path

Holland Cotter
New York Times
Strange to say, although China has 1.4 billion people, it has only one artist, Ai Weiwei. Or so you’d think if you followed the Western news media. “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum wants to correct...

The New Generation of Chinese Collectors Shaking up the Art World

Oliver Giles
CNN
Michael Xufu Huang is hard to miss. In March of this year, the Chinese art collector turned heads at a Guggenheim party by showing up in a white leather jumpsuit. A week later, he swept through the VIP opening of Art Basel in Hong Kong in a powder-...

Touching on History, a Chinese Film May Have Been Burned by It

Chris Buckley
New York Times
One of China’s most popular directors, Feng Xiaogang, was determined to triumph at the box office with the release of his new film “Youth” during the weeklong National Day holiday. But then Mr. Feng’s premiere was abruptly canceled.

Where the Wild Things Are: China's Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim

Jane Perlez
New York Times
The signature work at “Art and China After 1989,” a highly anticipated show that takes over the Guggenheim on Oct. 6, is a simple table with a see-through dome shaped like the back of a tortoise. On the tabletop hundreds of insects and reptiles —...

Chinese Landscapes at the Met: If Those Mountains Could Talk

Holland Cotter
New York Times
“Streams and Mountains Without End: Landscape Traditions of China,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features a collection reinstallation spiced with a few loans. But the Met’s China holdings are so broad and deep that some of the pictures here...

High Cost of China's Push for Unesco Heritage Sites

Ben Bland
Financial Times
China is ranked second only to Italy in terms of number of world heritage sites. But it's come at a cost...

‘Dunkirk’ Conquers China's Box Office

Gaochang Zhang
Los Angeles Times
The World War II rescue tale “Dunkirk” dominated the box office in China last week, building on its international success.

Young People in China Have Started a Fashion Movement Built around Nationalism and Racial Purity

Kevin Carrico
Quartz
The Han Clothing Movement, a youth-based grassroots nationalist movement built around China’s majority Han ethnic group, has emerged over the past 15 years in urban China. It imagines the numerically and culturally dominant Han—nearly 92% of China’s...

David Tang, Fashion Retailer and Raconteur, Dies at 63

Keith Bradsher and Elizabeth Paton
New York Times
David Tang, the founder of Shanghai Tang, a global chain of flashy emporiums of Chinese-inspired clothing, accessories and home furnishings, and a prominent writer and raconteur in Hong Kong and Britain, died on Tuesday in London. He was 63.

Viewpoint

08.22.17

Burn the Books, Bury the Scholars!

Geremie R. Barmé
Chinese censorship has come a long way. During his rule in the second century B.C.E., the First Emperor of a unified China, Ying Zheng, famously quashed the intellectual diversity of his day by ‘burning the books and burying the scholars’. He not...

Conversation

08.21.17

Should Publications Compromise to Remain in China?

Margaret Lewis, Andrew J. Nathan & more
The prestigious “China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous double-blind peer review regardless of topic or sensitivity,” wrote editor Tim Pringle on Monday after days of intense criticism of the brief-lived...

China’s Pretty Boys Find a New Gig: Propaganda Films

New York Times
Commissioned by the government to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s latest propaganda film was meant to be a patriotic tale about the young soldiers who served their country in its earliest...

Patriotic Action Film Set to Break China Blockbuster Record

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
A patriotic Chinese action film whose tagline is “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are” is poised to become the country’s highest grossing film to date.

Video

07.27.17

Where The Streets Had My Name

Ge Yulu
If you’re not dead yet and you were never very famous, can you still get a street named after you in Beijing? You can if you’re 27-year-old artist Ge Yulu. Open Google Maps, enter his name, and there you will find a 1,476-foot-long street that...

Chinese High School Pupils Make a Film Tackling LGBT Issues

Eva Li
South China Morning Post
A group of high school students in Beijing has made a film about the life of a transgender boy in a bid to raise public awareness of the issue, local media reported. The 75-minute production, titled Flee, tells the story of Zhang Wangan, a...

Hollywood Conducting First Independent Audit of China's Box Office

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
After years of U.S. studio concerns over a lack of transparency and possible ticket fraud, Hollywood is getting a closer look at the Chinese industry's books...

Novels from China’s Moral Abyss

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Modern China was built on the nearly thirty ruthless years of Mao’s rule. The country’s elite—the “literati” of educated small landowners who held the empire together at the local level—was brutally eliminated. Almost everyone’s personal life was...

Have a Nice Day, Chinese Gangster Animation, Blocked in France

Stephen McDonelll
BBC
The makers of a cutting-edge Chinese film that was pulled from the world's premier animation festival following government pressure from Beijing say they still hope the movie will get a run in cinemas at home later this year...

Godfather of Beijing’s Indie Music Scene Dissects China’s Experimental Soundscape

Malcolm Surer
China’s alternative-punk music scene has evolved from a genre that represented the rebelliousness of a niche group of well-off educated urbanites to one that’s international, hip, and popular. Chinese bands now play to sold-out gigs not only in old...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

The Earthy Glories of Ancient China

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
French schoolchildren used to be taught that they were descended from the Gauls, a tribe that emerged around the fifth century BC. It is a common conceit of 19th-century nationalism that citizens of modern nation-states can trace their national...

Depth of Field

05.01.17

From the Inside Looking Out

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Each March, Beijing hosts the “Two Sessions,” massive meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Members of the two bodies of the nation’s legislature meet for a week in the Great Hall of...

Conversation

04.14.17

Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more
At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s...

Conversation

03.22.17

China Writers Remember Robert Silvers

Ian Johnson, Orville Schell & more
Robert Silvers died on Monday, March 20, after serving as The New York Review of Books Editor since 1963. Over almost six decades, Silvers cultivated one of the most interesting, reflective, and lustrous stables of China writers in the world, some...

Sinica Podcast

03.17.17

Big Daddy Dough: Hip-hop and Macroeconomics in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain...

China’s Political Propaganda Gets a Digital Makeover

BBC
There are more such tactics being adopted this year.

Conversation

02.23.17

Can China Expand its Beachhead in Hollywood?

Stanley Rosen, Ying Zhu & more
With The Great Wall, a classic army vs. monsters tale, director Zhang Yimou has brought America the most expensive Chinese film ever created. The movie may be backed by a Hollywood studio and it may star no less an American icon than Matt Damon, and...

Depth of Field

02.16.17

Riding into the New Year

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
As preparations for the Chinese New Year got underway, Liang Yingfei set up a roadside studio and asked migrants traveling home by motorbike to stop for a quick photograph. While in Cambodia for the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops, Jia...

Using Stealth, and Drones, to Document a Fading Hong Kong

Mike Ives
New York Times
If history was any guide, the explorers said, the building the drone was filming—a 1952 theater with unusual roof supports—would eventually be demolished because it is not on Hong Kong’s list of declared monuments.

China’s Latest Hollywood Move: Pumping $1B into Paramount Movies

Sherisse Pham
CNN
Paramount Pictures has announced a $1 billion financing deal with two Chinese firms, strengthening the U.S. studio's ties with a lucrative but difficult market...

Sinica Podcast

01.19.17

The State of Journalism in China—Ed Wong’s Exit Interview

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
Edward Wong became a reporter for The New York Times in 1999. He covered the Iraq war from Baghdad from 2003 to 2007, and then moved to Beijing in 2008. He has written about a wide range of subjects in China for the Times, and became its Beijing...

In China, Pollution Fears Are Both Literal and Metaphorical

Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Benjamin Van...
NPR
Last month, as China encountered some of its worst pollution yet, artists in Chengdu did something bold: They put smog-filtering cotton masks over the faces of statues representing ordinary urbanites that dot a centrally located shopping street.

Film Review: ‘Plastic China’

Dennis Harvey
Variety
Life in one Chinese town is entirely dedicated to recycling of First World waste in Jiu-liang Wang’s documentary.

Zhou Youguang, Architect of a Bridge between Languages, Dies At 111

Colin Dwyer
NPR
Zhou Youguang, the inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died Saturday at the age of 111.

China Is Mad About Hollywood Remakes

Lillian Lin
Wall Street Journal
Aiming to crack new frontiers in China, Hollywood studios are turning to something familiar: established American films and TV series that can be remade for Chinese audiences.

How ‘Bambi’ Got Its Look From 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Art

Daniel McDermon
New York Times
The Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong, who died last week at 106, was an incredibly accomplished painter, illustrator, calligrapher and Hollywood studio artist. But as Margalit Fox wrote in her obituary for Mr. Wong, “because of the marginalization...

To Speak is to Blunder

Yiyun Li
New Yorker
My brain has banished Chinese. I dream in English. I talk to myself in English. It was a crucial decision to be orphaned from my mother tongue

How George Michael’s Wham! Baffled Communist China and Inspired its Youth

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
It was a culture shock to rival the best of them: the coiffured hair and exuberant dancing of British pop stars, and the Communist Party’s dour uniformity

Could Jane Zhang Become China’s First Global Pop Star?

Grace Tsoi
BBC
Zhang's latest single breaks the mould of China's pop industry and could help her become its first global superstar...

Norway and China Restore Ties, 6 Years After Nobel Prize Dispute

Sewell Chan
New York Times
The news accompanied an unannounced visit to Beijing by the Norwegian foreign minister, Borge Brende, who met with Premier Li Keqiang

“Messy, Mindless, Illogical”: Chinese Moviegoers Review “Great Wall”

Josh Horwitz and Echo Huang
Quartz
One of the most hyped-up film productions of the year is shaping up to be a box office success, and a critical bomb

China to Review Film Limits as Box Office Growth Slows

Lisa Richwine and Adam Jourdan
Reuters
China's box office is set to end the year with its smallest growth in a decade...