Arts

Arts

BTS face trial by Chinese social media over RM’s Korean War comments
K-pop group BTS has been targeted on Chinese social media over comments made about the Korean war, prompting some major brands to drop references to the band in online advertising. There was an angry reaction after the boy band’s leader RM told an awards ceremony that the South Korean band would always remember the country’s “history of pain” and shared “sacrifices” with the United States. The war began 70 years ago when North Korea invaded the South. A US-led coalition then joined the conflict on the side of the South, pushing the North’s troops back to the Chinese border, which prompted China to intervene on behalf of its communist ally. The conflict, which went on for three years, is offi
Patriotic movies may have unlocked China’s blockbuster machine
In the climactic scene of a recent hit Chinese blockbuster, a handsome military leader gives his troops an inspirational speech, urging them to fight for the nation against Japanese imperialists.  As the music crescendos, the inspired soldiers chant, “The Chinese nation will not perish! The Chinese nation will not perish!” But as the camera zooms out, we see a surprising sight that viewers in China might have expected to be censored: the blue and red flag of the Republic of China, now known as Taiwan, waving from a rooftop.  Considered a symbol of Taiwan “separatism,” the flag was spotted a few times in the war epic The Eight Hundred, a movie set during the second Sino-Japanese war, when Chi
Why tattoos are still frowned upon in East Asia
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Tattoos may be increasingly embraced by young people in China, particularly in cities like Shanghai, which has a burgeoning tattoo scene, yet age-old prejudices against those with inked skin prevail in many parts of Chinese society. Chinese state media have blurred David Beckham’s tattoos when he appeared shirtless on TV.  In Lanzhou, capital of the northwestern province of Gansu, authorities implemented a no-tattoo rule in August, ordering taxi drivers to remove their tattoos for good.  In countries like Japan and South Korea, attitudes toward tattoos ar
English construction worker found Chinese relic while clearing out his garage
An English construction worker has found a valuable Chinese artifact initially thought to be a “teapot” while clearing out family belongings from a garage during lockdowns to fight the spread of Covid-19. The 51-year-old from Derbyshire in the UK said he was about to send the item to a charity shop before discovering it was an 18th-century imperial wine ewer. It fetched a life-changing sum at an auction this week. 
Disney’s Mulan is besieged by critics. The worst may still lie ahead
Hit with bad reviews and accusations of complicity in China’s mistreatment of ethnic minorities, Mulan is getting no respite ahead of its opening in Chinese theaters. Disney’s live-action remake has racked up dismal advance ticket sales for its opening day in China on Friday, according to China’s largest film ticketing app Maoyan. As of Wednesday morning, the sales amounted to $307,000 after three days’ presale, a fraction of those of recent hit movies in the country. Love You Forever, a time-traveling romance, took in $20 million in advance tickets before it opened in August. Mulan has faced a fresh storm of criticism since its September 4 release in the US after it was found to be partly f
Why China’s hip-hop stars are staying silent on Black Lives Matter
After a 2017 rap show got a generation of China’s youth hooked on hip hop, the musical genre has created dozens of Chinese stars and, along with them, billions of streaming views. But despite their enthusiasm for a culture that originated in the African-American community, Chinese hip-hop stars and their legions of fans have largely stayed silent on the Black Lives Matter movement, which has swept across the world after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis. Canadian-Chinese hip-hop star Kris Wu has made no comments on the anti-racism protests to his 50.9 million social media followers on Weibo and 7.3 million on Instagram. GAI, a rapping competition winner
How John Woo reinvented action movies
Director John Woo, who turned 74 on May 1, should be considered the godfather of the modern action movie. Mixing spectacular set pieces with sentiment, he started tropes now synonymous with the genre. These include slow-motion fight scenes, Mexican stand-offs and characters firing multiple guns at the same time. The repeated use of doves, however, is a style all his own. Born in Guangzhou in 1946, the director of films such as A Better Tomorrow (1986), The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled (1992) grew up in Hong Kong after his family fled persecution under Mao Zedong.  “As a kid, I always felt like I lived in hell – the slums of Hong Kong were horrible,” he told Venice Magazine. “I always had t
Will ‘Parasite’ make it past China’s film censors?
Chinese film fans still don’t know if, or when, they will get to see Parasite, the South Korean film that made history by winning the 92nd Academy Award for best picture, along with three other Oscars. Some expressed doubts the film would be shown in China given its unflinching criticism of social inequality and extreme poverty, and its amoral storyline. It wouldn’t be the first Korean film to fall foul of Chinese censors. Korean directors have not been shy about depicting their country under dictatorship, and are likened to French filmmakers in their stylistic portrayal of sex and gore. Chinese censorship rules ban the explicit portrayal of sex, violence, sensitive political issues, practic
The making of Oscar-nominated, Obamas-backed ‘American Factory’
Back in 2014, the Chinese entrepreneur Cao Dewang looked like a savior to the people of Dayton, Ohio. Cao is the founder and CEO of Fuyao, which makes glass such as windshields. The Chinese billionaire promised to bring an abandoned General Motors factory in the American state back to life, providing thousands of jobs to an area that desperately needed them. Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were there in 2008 to document the GM factory closing.  They returned in 2014 to make American Factory, which has been nominated for best documentary feature at this year’s Academy Awards and won accolades at film festivals around the world. Given full access to the plant and its workers, the