Grace Tsoi

Grace Tsoi

Grace is a senior multimedia producer at Inkstone. She was previously a senior producer for BBC Chinese.

Why Chinese men are paying to meet Eastern European women
The women sit on the left, the men on the right. Between them, a host in a suit calls on the men to make the first move. Love is in the air – if the interpreters do their job. The women are either Russian or Ukrainian, the men all Chinese. On a recent Sunday afternoon, they meet in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai in search of love. Without translation, the opposing sexes can’t fully understand each other. But it doesn’t matter. Brought to the same place by sheer destiny – and, for the men, an agent and a payment of $880 – the 16 participants mingle over sappy music and red wine, hoping to find a lifelong partner. As China has become wealthier and more outward-looking, an increasing numbe
Tibetan-Canadian student defiant amid nationalist protests
An incoming Tibetan-Canadian student union president at the University of Toronto has pledged to continue advocating for a “free Tibet” after her support for Tibetan self-determination prompted protests from Chinese nationalists. Chemi Lhamo, the president-elect of the undergraduate student union of one of the university’s three campuses, said she is worried about her physical safety because of the hate messages she said she had received after her election win. Lhamo’s support for Tibetan activism has made her a target of the ire of some Chinese internet users and students at the university, who have accused her of trying to separate Tibet from the rest of China. The police have given her a
Inkstone index: China’s online piracy
$9.8 billion: China’s projected revenue loss to online television and movie piracy by 2022. The forecast figure is more than double the losses of $4.2 billion from 2010 to 2016, according to London-based analytics firm Digital TV Research, suggesting that piracy in China will continue unabated. Despite China’s relatively fast-growing but nascent entertainment industry, the projected loss is comparable to the US’ $11.6 billion over the same period. Movies and TV shows, particularly foreign shows and films which aren’t available via legal means, are widely pirated in China through streaming sites and downloads. The US has urged China to toughen its crackdown on piracy and other forms of intell
The work of a legendary Hong Kong street photographer
Fan Ho was a legendary photographer, best known for capturing the beauty and spirit of old Hong Kong in his black and white photos. Born in Shanghai in 1931, Ho started taking photos at the age of 14. A sufferer of chronic headaches, Ho found it hard to spend extended periods reading or writing. And so he picked up his father’s Kodak Brownie camera and took up photography. Dubbed the “Cartier-Bresson of the East,” like his western namesake Ho preferred shooting in black and white. “Black and white offers me a sense of distance: a distance from real life,” Ho said in a video interview with Hong Kong visual culture museum M+. Photography was never his occupation. He applied his talents to the
Inkstone index: China’s migrant workers
287 million: The number of rural migrant workers in China in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That’s more than a third of China’s labor force. “Rural migrant worker” is the term used to refer to those who live and work in China’s cities, but are not registered under the nation’s official registration system as urban dwellers. As China embarked on economic reforms in 1978, the restrictions on population flow were relaxed. Migrant workers provided the cheap labor needed to propel the nation’s economic growth, contributing to at least 20% of China’s GDP between 1990 and 2010. But for all that, they are often seen as second-class citizens. Many are poorly paid and denied soc
China moves to allay HIV fears
Chinese authorities have begun an investigation into a large batch of human blood plasma treatment that has been found to be potentially contaminated with HIV. China’s health commission and drug regulator have suspended the use of 12,000 bottles of intravenous immunoglobulin, a treatment for many immune deficiency disorders such as leukemia and hepatitis, after they were found earlier this week to contain HIV antibodies. HIV antibodies – the proteins commonly found in those infected with HIV – were detected in the blood product by local health authorities in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, according to a document by the National Health Commission released on Tuesday. The blood plasma w
What is the Chinese Zodiac?
Chinese people around the world are celebrating the arrival of the Year of the Pig, an animal symbolizing fortune and wealth, according to the Chinese zodiac. Unlike Western horoscopes, which divide a year into 12 signs based on the position of the sun, the Chinese zodiac runs in a 12-year cycle. But much like in Western astrology, Chinese culture believes that your birth animal has an impact on your personality and fortunes. The two can mix. In Hong Kong newspapers and magazines, it’s common to have a page featuring the Chinese zodiac and Western horoscopes side by side. There’s an interesting legend (with several variations, of course) behind the origins of the Chinese zodiac. The story g
The faces behind China’s millennium-old fireworks industry
Lunar New Year used to be a far more boisterous time in China. For days on end, fireworks and firecrackers would crackle in the streets and ring across the countryside, the noise believed to bring good fortune in the new year. But this millennium-old tradition is increasingly at odds with the country, one pressing ahead with modernization and urbanization. The authorities have deemed fireworks dangerous, polluting and even uncivilized. Since 2017, they’ve been banned in more than 400 Chinese cities. All this spells bad news for Liuyang in southern China, a city of 1.3 million where about 70% of China’s fireworks are produced. The labor-intensive fireworks industry is crucial to the city, e
New Year red envelopes: what they are and what to do if you get one
Lunar New Year is here, and a lot of cash is flowing around. During this occasion, the most important festival of the year, it’s customary for Chinese people to give out and receive red packets – red envelopes with cash inside. The gift has many names: “hong bao” in Mandarin, “lai see” in Cantonese and “ang pao” in Hokkien. “It is a way for the older generations to give their blessings to the younger generations at the start of a year,” Huang Jingchun, a Chinese folklore expert at Shanghai University, told Inkstone. How (and when) to give This New Year ritual can be pretty confusing, and it’s made all the more confusing by the fact that there are differing kinds of red envelopes etiquette i
Here’s how we’re going to survive the Lunar New Year
The largest human migration got underway in China in the days before the start of the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb 5 this year. Hundreds of millions of migrant workers traveled hundreds of miles to return home. Festivity and big feasts await – but some young people dread the occasion. Why? Imagine Thanksgiving that lasts at least a week. A week with all of your in-laws under one roof. A week of endless probing questions. Yeah. Here are some tips from Inkstone to anyone (including us) who’s going to have to survive the Lunar New Year. Inevitable questions Any young Chinese person will have to acquire a Zen mindset for the annual grilling from their aunties and uncles. It’s a fact of li