LATEST ARTICLES

Made in China

Made in China

It began with a few washes of clear blue water-colour on a white page. Evolving from this first simple splash of art, the design grew and developed. By late last year it was a sophisticated entry for the multi-stage international competition to design a massive municipal museum in northern China. By April the adventurous Australian …read more

Peng Shui

Peng Shui

When China’s new president Xi Jinping walked down the airplane stairs in the tiny Carribean nation of Trinidad and Tobago in June, it was a shimmering moment in Chinese modern history. Not only was he arm in arm with his elegantly-dressed wife, Peng Liyuan, but he held an umbrella over both their heads. Perhaps most …read more

Red (and white) China

Red (and white) China

Kalen Ip is on a roll. A wine enthusiast with an unnervingly accurate palate, he has correctly guessed the type, variety, vintage and price range of an Eden Valley riesling, a straightforward Barossa shiraz and a Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre. The 31-year-old has yet to visit Australia, let alone the Barossa, but he’s not about …read more

China’s Michelle Obama: a new kind of power chick

China's Michelle Obama: a new kind of power chick

China’s new first lady, Peng Liyuan, is leading a fashion renaissance in China, defiantly wearing Chinese designer outfits on the world stage. “National Mother” copycat handbags and scarves are now for sale on China’s online shopping site Taobao; a glut of eager customers has crashed one Chinese label’s website and the Chinese internet is buzzing …read more

Made well in China

Made well in China

The “Made in China” label used to conjure up images of cheap and tacky mass-production; container-loads of plastic toys, plastic shoes, plastic kitchen utensils, plastic clutter. But the inexorable pace of Chinese growth has brought with it increasing manufacturing standards and ability, as well as a massive market of consumers increasingly clamorous for better design …read more

The great leap northward

The great leap northward

John Graham Harper crouches in his gym in southern China, bending his muscled legs and concentrating. Then he leaps up, using the power in his thighs and calves to shoot him up in a tremendous bounce. He lands neatly on a waist-high structure, an impressive feat. “It’s all in the explosive force,” he says with …read more

Beyond a choke

Beyond a choke

Seeing the rows of small masked faces on the school bus made it all very clear for Sharon Carr. She had lived in Beijing for five years, and she loved the city and loved the people. It was home. She had a good job; her husband enjoyed his work. Her five-year-old son Matthew and her …read more

China’s online revolution

China's online revolution

The mayor from impoverished Gansu province, in China’s remote north, should have kept his hands in his pockets. In late November Yuan Zhanting, mayor of Lanzhou, became the latest senior official accused of corruption by ever-vigilant Chinese microbloggers. Photos of Yuan wearing a succession of luxury watches were posted on China’s Twitter equivalent, the popular …read more

In character

In character

The mainland’s internet universe is a closed book to nearly all Westerners – few know even the most rudimentary basics of spoken Putonghua, let alone have a grasp of the written language. Yet an explosion of interest in mainland microblogging sites, known as weibos (” weibo” loosely translates as “micro-blog”), has lured even resolutely monolingual …read more

Sino the Times

Sino the Times

Jie Chen giggles as she picks her way through Sina Weibo, China’s immensely popular microblogging site. The 25-year-old office worker from Shantou city in Guangdong province has revelled in her Weibo account for more than two years: it provides her with endless amusement and, sometimes, with useful information. Her long hair swings forward as she …read more