Inkstone

Inkstone

www.inkstonenews.com
A daily digest of the top China stories.


The latest social media craze in China: watching North Koreans
Sep 20 • 4 min
China’s booming online video scene offers something for everyone: cute animals, cooking tutorials, quirky artwork and now, a glimpse into the world’s most reclusive country. Residents in China’s northeast near North Korea have gained legions of fans…
Why Chinese students in the US aren’t fans of Hong Kong protesters
Sep 20 • 8 min
Brian Shan says the way he views the world has been reshaped since he arrived in the United States to study seven years ago. The 30-year-old Beijing native, working on a PhD in materials engineering at an Ivy League university, has come to accept that…
Chinese journalists to be tested on loyalty to Xi Jinping
Sep 20 • 2 min
Thousands of reporters and editors working in Chinese state media across the country will have to take an exam to test their loyalty to President Xi Jinping. Some will be asked to take part in “pilot tests” in early October, before the exams are held…
Nancy Pelosi vows to bring Hong Kong-focused bill to vote soon
Sep 19 • 3 min
US House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday threw her support behind legislation meant to back Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters. Speaking at a news conference featuring Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong and Denise Ho, who testified before the…
China set to lose half of its pigs to epidemic. Can fake pork save the day?
Sep 19 • 2 min
With pork prices in China spiking in recent months, a food company thinks now is the perfect time to convince the world’s largest pork consumer to try something new: fake pork. Since last August, a deadly swine epidemic has left 40% of China’s pigs dead…
Security expert says it’s no longer safe to make a V-sign in photos
Sep 19 • 2 min
When it’s time for a selfie, many Chinese people would make a V-sign for the camera. V-for-victory is their way of saying cheese. But this popular ritual could expose you to fingerprint theft, said a Chinese cybersecurity expert. Zhang Wei, the…
Why a Chinese chemical firm dropped its Louisiana plant
Sep 18 • 8 min
In the latest setback for Chinese companies investing in the US during the current trade war, a state-owned chemical firm is hitting the pause button on a $1.25 billion plant in Louisiana. Chinese firms operating in the US are facing growing headwinds…
Some Hong Kong protesters want to take matters into their own hands
Sep 18 • 5 min
The growing use of force by anti-government protesters in Hong Kong took a new turn over the past weekend, with vigilantism being advocated as a way to tackle clashes with rival groups. The calls for “resolving things privately” – or si liu in Cantonese –…
Chinese editor complains about ‘over the top’ internet control
Sep 18 • 2 min
The editor of the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper made a rare departure from his loyalist views on Wednesday, complaining that the country’s strict internet control was “over the top” and made his job harder. “As the National Day nears, it’s…
Woman locked out of her digital life after nose job
Sep 17 • 2 min
A young woman in eastern China found her life turned upside down when plastic surgery altered her appearance so drastically that she was banned from online payment gateways and unable to sign in to work. The issues she faced underscore the extent to which…
Fans call out Taiwan pop star Jay Chou’s new hit song for being ‘sexist’
Sep 17 • 2 min
Despite breaking the Chinese internet with a new hit song, Taiwan’s “King of Asian Pop” Jay Chou has received some heat for promoting “sexist” values with a music video that features the female lead sacrificing for her boyfriend. The star’s latest single,…
Asian-American performers applaud sacking of Shane Gillis
Sep 17 • 3 min
Asian-American performers are applauding Saturday Night Live’s decision to drop stand-up comedian Shane Gillis after footage of him making racial slurs against Chinese people resurfaced. Joe Wong, a bilingual Chinese-American comic who works in both…
Billionaire owner of ‘American Factory’ defends his anti-union stance
Sep 16 • 3 min
The Chinese billionaire featured in the Netflix documentary American Factory has defended his country’s labor practices by criticizing unions, saying they hurt efficiency. In China, American Factory prompted a wave of soul-searching about the human costs…
Xi Jinping’s biggest headache isn’t Hong Kong. It’s the price of pork
Sep 16 • 7 min
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that we’re in the Year of the Pig. Rarely has a single food source played as big a role in the nation’s politics as now. Fears over a year-long outbreak of deadly African swine fever have steadily grown to the point that the…
How Beijing is gearing up for an all-important anniversary
Sep 16 • 2 min
Two days ago, on Saturday afternoon, I was desperately hungry and looking for food in the heart of Beijing’s financial district. But on a normally booming day for business, all the shops in the area had closed early in order to keep the crowds at bay. For…
Embattled Hong Kong police get mooncakes from supporters in China
Sep 13 • 2 min
Hong Kong’s embattled police force has received 650 boxes of mooncakes sent from supporters in mainland China responding to an online campaign initiated by the country’s top law enforcement body. The cakes were delivered to police stations and the force’s…
How to end Hong Kong protests? Deal with housing, says state media
Sep 13 • 3 min
Hong Kong protesters are on the streets calling for democratic reforms, but the Chinese state media says it’s something else that’s fueling their anger: unaffordable housing. In an online commentary on Thursday, Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s…
He is pro-China. She is pro-Hong Kong. They had a heart-to-heart over boba
Sep 13 • 15 min
Fenella Sung sits across from Victor Feng at a narrow bench table at Bubble Queen on Vancouver’s Oak Street. She’s nursing a hot rose jasmine tea – a somewhat radical choice in a bubble-tea joint – but it’s “fantastic,” she assures Feng, who sips a cold…
How Taiwan became a global force in chip production
Sep 12 • 5 min
On a chilly day in February 1974, seven men gathered over breakfast at a soy milk stall in Taipei to map out Taiwan’s foray into semiconductor manufacturing. In an anecdote that is now legendary, Pan Wen-yuan, who was then a US-based research director at…
Muji says sorry after calling parts of Shanghai the ‘French Concession’
Sep 12 • 2 min
Japanese retailer Muji has apologized in China after using the term “French Concession” to refer to a historic neighborhood in Shanghai in a marketing campaign. The term, which is still commonly used in the megacity, angered some Chinese internet users…
Chinese ‘have the last word’ on naming of panda cubs, German zoo says
Sep 11 • 3 min
A pair of newborn pandas in Germany is unlikely to be called Hong and Kong despite calls for the twins to be named in honor of Hong Kong’s continuing pro-democracy protests. The panda cubs, born at the Berlin Zoo on August 31, have made international…
US lawmakers seek to ban tear gas exports to Hong Kong
Sep 11 • 3 min
US congressional representatives on Tuesday introduced a bill seeking to ban sales of riot control equipment to Hong Kong, following accusations that the city’s police have used excessive force against anti-government protesters. If passed, the bill would…
Can fake-meat startups make it in the home of alt-meat?
Sep 6 • 2 min
The Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods makes a business out of convincing carnivores that vegan burgers can taste just as beefy as the real deal. But as the company’s founder, Patrick Brown, has set his sight on China, calling the country an…
Chinese are buying fewer and fewer cars
Sep 6 • 1 min
Auto sales in the world’s most populous country fell for 13 months since last July. They are expected to keep falling. The slowing sales of vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is not just bad news for automakers worldwide. It is also a sign that…
Why some Hong Kong protesters are pushing for a US bill
Sep 6 • 3 min
A group of Hong Kong protesters has turned to Washington for help as they continue pushing for democratic reforms and an investigation into police conduct. While the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, has acceded to one of the protesters’ key demands by dropping…
Can a truth panel inspired by the death of Michael Brown help Hong Kong?
Sep 5 • 4 min
Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has said she would appoint a panel of experts to investigate the root causes of the city’s unrest, in a move that a government insider compared to the forming of the Ferguson Commission in the US. The…
Controversial Hong Kong mooncakes ‘to be destroyed’ in mainland China
Sep 5 • 2 min
A mainland Chinese company that sells a popular brand of mooncakes caught up in the maelstrom of Hong Kong politics said it would have to destroy its stock of the cakes. This week, state media denounced a director of Hong Kong-based Taipan Bread and Cake…
Basketball in China, through the eyes of a 40-year fan
Sep 5 • 3 min
In 1996, Ma Ge watched his first live NBA game in Houston. “It was awe-inspiring,” said Ma, 64, a retired policeman originally from China’s eastern city of Hangzhou. “I remember feeling so small but so moved at this huge stadium,” Ma told Inkstone. “It…
Chinese cities take drastic action to offset soaring pork prices
Sep 4 • 2 min
Across China, the price of pork has doubled since July, prompting some cities to take the unusual step of offering discounts on the country’s favorite meat. In the southwestern city of Nanning, coupons have been distributed to shoppers since Sunday. The…
Online protest highlights woes of evicted children in Shenzhen
Sep 4 • 3 min
Chinese internet users have joined an online protest to support children who were forced to move out of one of Shenzhen’s biggest migrant neighorboods. Following calls from a performance artist called Nut Brother, WeChat users are sharing pictures of…
‘The fight for Hong Kong is not over’: protesters dismiss concession
Sep 4 • 4 min
Some anti-government protesters in Hong Kong have dismissed a key concession by the city’s leader, who has struggled to resolve a political crisis that has led to almost weekly clashes between police and demonstrators since June. Chief Executive Carrie…
Hong Kong could suffer from corporatist ‘white terror’
Sep 3 • 5 min
In 1558, at the very beginning of her reign, Queen Elizabeth I of England famously declared that she had “no desire to make windows into men’s souls.” What the 25-year-old monarch meant was that under her rule, people’s religious convictions would be a…
Why some Hong Kong students choose streets over school
Sep 3 • 5 min
For many young people in Hong Kong, the start of September usually means it’s time to go back to school. But this is no ordinary September. As a summer of dissent continues over fears of eroding freedom in the former British colony, some students have…
Is Hong Kong’s rich, obedient neighbor China’s new golden child?
Aug 29 • 7 min
As tear gas filled Hong Kong’s streets over the weekend amid an unending governing crisis, a different political show played out just an hour’s ferry ride away in Macau. On Sunday, 400 members of the gambling hub’s pro-Beijing elite went ahead as expected…
How China squandered chances to build its own chip industry
Aug 29 • 5 min
China has long been aware of the need to develop a strong semiconductor industry of its own. The recent trade war with the US, which threatens to cut off critical access to US components for national tech champions, has added extra urgency. What many…
Chinese cheer after freestyle ski champ Eileen Gu wins top prize
Aug 29 • 2 min
Eileen Gu, a Chinese-American freestyle ski champion who competes for China, is bringing home her first major international win. On Wednesday, Gu won first place in freeski halfpipe at the Winter Games New Zealand, one of the top five winter sports…
Hong Kong police get new anti-riot suits from Chinese supplier
Aug 28 • 2 min
Hong Kong police are buying new anti-riot protective gear from a Chinese manufacturer, which has also supplied law enforcement units in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Senior superintendent Kong Wing-chueng from the police public relations branch…
Can Hong Kong stay part of China’s own Silicon Valley plan?
Aug 28 • 7 min
August and September are usually busy months for clothing trader Michael Hui Wah-kit, whose international clients arrive in Hong Kong for fashion shows and trade events. Buyers from Australia and Europe come to him for the latest casual wear produced by…
China dreams of basketball stardom. Jeremy Lin could help
Aug 28 • 4 min
Ever since Jeremy Lin became a global sensation known as “Linsanity” in 2012, basketball fans in China have enthusiastically tracked this trailblazing Asian-American sports star’s every move. Now, their dreams of having their idol play in their national…
Trump’s 2020 campaign materials are about to be hit by his China tariffs
Aug 27 • 2 min
President Donald Trump’s escalation of the trade war with China could soon be about to hit him where it hurts, with large quantities of materials for his 2020 presidential campaign set to be affected by import tariffs. Workers at Fuyang Jiahao, a small…
Huge crowd forces Costco to shut early on opening day in China
Aug 27 • 3 min
So many bargain-hunting customers flocked to Costco’s first store in China that it was forced to close early due to safety concerns. The new Costco branch in Shanghai became packed with shoppers pushing their carts soon after the store opened at 8.30am on…
Fearing new ‘red scare,’ Chinese-American activists fight back
Aug 27 • 5 min
As more Chinese-Americans find themselves targeted in the increasingly bitter stand-off between Beijing and Washington, legislators, community groups and legal experts are pushing back in hopes of sending a message that enough is enough. Prime objects of…
Hong Kong protests are a game changer – for Taiwan
Aug 26 • 8 min
At the Purple Garden Hotel in downtown Taipei, there is little sign that it had once hosted Chan Tong-kai, the Hong Kong student who confessed to killing his pregnant girlfriend in February last year. It was a gruesome murder that, unpredictably, helped…
‘American Factory’: What Chinese see when they watch China go to Ohio
Aug 26 • 3 min
For American audiences, the Netflix documentary American Factory reveals the life of US workers on Chinese-owned production lines. But for Chinese audiences, the film serves as a reminder of the human costs behind China’s rise as a manufacturing…
Hong Kong protesters buy gas masks in Taiwan as local supply dwindles
Aug 23 • 3 min
Sales of gas masks have soared in Taiwan, with some shops reportedly running out of stock in the past month as Hongkongers snap up supplies from the island to protect themselves during anti-government protests. A sales manager at Taipei-based Ceachain…
Beijing co-opts celebrities for propaganda. It may come to regret it
Aug 22 • 4 min
In the midst of heightened tension over the unrest in Hong Kong, many of the top topics trending on China’s Weibo platform last week pertained to international brands. From Versace and Givenchy to Coach and Swarovski, the companies apologized for daring…
Rap songs fuel China’s propaganda war on Hong Kong protests
Aug 22 • 3 min
For decades, revolutionary songs – called red songs – praising the ruling Communist Party were a staple in Chinese society and part of the country’s propaganda push. The most famous of these tunes is arguably “The East is Red,” a hit in the 1960s, when…
Hong Kong’s hotel workers hit by anti-government protests
Aug 22 • 3 min
Hong Kong’s tourism industry is paying the price for three months of anti-government protests calling for political reforms. With fewer tourists traveling to Hong Kong, many hotel workers have had to take paid or unpaid leave due to a drop in occupancy…
It’s hard to turn young Hongkongers into ‘patriotic youth’
Aug 21 • 7 min
When Kathy Tang (not her real name) and her fellow Hong Kong interns arrived at the fabled Palace Museum in Beijing’s Forbidden City in 2017, they received a red-carpet welcome. There were high hopes for this first batch of 15 young Hongkongers…
Why China sent empty cargo containers by railway to Europe
Aug 21 • 4 min
Widespread waste and fraud associated with China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been revealed after the country’s state railway group admitted that a significant amount of cargo containers shuttling between China and Europe were empty. The admission by…