China Travel Writing Blog

A Hong Kong designer by the name Local Studio HK created images to make the point that “Hong Kong is not China” that are going viral on social media and China blogs. Some of them take shots at Chinese people’s su zhi, or “character.” Others compare Hong Kong’s relative freedom to China’s authoritarian one party… Read Article →

The New York Times recently published an image of artwork of Pope Francis made out of condoms. Though it didn’t require much courage, I do praise them for the decision to publish. After all, it is wrong when newspapers censor themselves to avoid offending thin-skinned religious sensibilities (or any other sensibilities). And the message that… Read Article →

In 1966, the Xujiahui Church (St. Ignatius Cathedral) displayed Mao’s image over the front door. The Cultural Revolution had just started, and Red Guard students were tearing down historical and cultural anti-revolutionary relics. On August 23, they arrived at the St. Ignatius Cathedral in Xujiahui district of Shanghai and attacked the church. Elements of the… Read Article →

If you ever wanted to see Shaquille O’Neal drinking beer with Chinese guys and doing a funny dance, you just got your chance. Shaq has been starring in Harbin’s ads throughout the year. During the NBA finals broadcast on CCTV, he was shown delivering a bucket of Harbin beers to someone’s table. Here’s Shaq celebrating… Read Article →

It has been reported that Britain’s spy agency, GCHQ, is hiring computer experts to spy. Routine news, you might say, but it aroused criticism from Glenn Greenwald and others in the anti-spying camp. Greenwald in particular juxtaposed the news of their hiring plans against the fact that Britain is trying to crack down on illegal… Read Article →

I was showing another passenger photos of life in America on the train from Zhuzhou to Nanjing last night when I got to photos from the Washington, DC Tea Party protest on July 4, 2009. “Here’s something you can’t do in China,” I said. “Yes, you need a permit.” “This person is saying Barack Obama… Read Article →

The three hour train ride from Guangzhou South to Guilin North station must be one of the most beautiful in China. The view out the window transitions from a sprawling view of Guangzhou’s skyline when you depart to views of farmland and mountains and then into the steep rocky, karst points of northern Guangxi. Once… Read Article →

I was that asshole last night who forced some people out of a taxi and into the rain. I was that asshole because I called a taxi on the Didi taxi app and got to take the taxi even though two people got in before me while I was waiting under an awning out of… Read Article →

“It’s a tragedy that people like Jon Huntsman lose to people like Ted Cruz,” my friend and fellow columnist Sumantra Maitra said last year when discussing American politics. “He doesn’t sound smart to me.” Editor’s note: This column was supposed to be published shortly after Cruz made his announcement, but it was delayed for various… Read Article →

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