Phoebe Zhang

Phoebe Zhang

Reporter, China

Phoebe Zhang is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a Shenzhen-based society reporter with the South China Morning Post.

Location
Shenzhen
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Social issues
Uncle Roger accused of ‘sacrificing his morality’ over deleted video
Uncle Roger, who rose to fame by roasting a BBC rice-making video, deleted a video about dumplings because it featured an outspoken critic of China’s government.  Now, social media users have lashed out at the internet celebrity, whose real name is Nigel Ng, saying he “sacrificed his morality” to cater to his Chinese fans. The video, called “Uncle Roger Reviews Ugliest Dumpling Ever,” was in collaboration with YouTuber Mike Chen, who often criticizes Chinese government policies.  The video criticizes a dumpling recipe and does not contain any political commentary.  Just 24 hours after posting it on Monday, Ng had removed the clip and posted an apology to Weibo – China’s Twitter – saying the
Online superstar reignites cultural clash over kimchi
Chinese internet star Li Ziqi has found herself in a right pickle after unwittingly launching a cultural clash between Korea and China - all over a video of her making what appears to be kimchi. The 19-minute video titled, ‘The Life of a White Radish,’ has prompted an online war of words between people from the two countries – who both claim to own the dish of pickled vegetables. The 30-year-old vlogger – who has a combined social media following of 58 million fans on Weibo and YouTube – posted the video on Saturday with the hashtags #ChineseCuisine and #ChineseFood. Shortly after, angry Koreans flooded the comments section, criticizing Li for stealing their culture and insulting Korean tra
Enough victim blaming: ad pulled after women lead internet outrage
A Chinese company’s new video advertisement for women’s makeup remover wipes has been savagely panned by online critics, forcing the ad to be pulled and the company apologizing twice. Purcotton, owned by Winner Medical Co., released the video last week on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, showing a young girl scaring off a would-be attacker with her naked makeup-free face after using the cleansing wipes. The 26-second video ad was pulled after online users denounced it as “demonizing” female sexual assault victims. The offending ad showed a young woman walking down a street at night followed by a masked man. As the stalker gets closer, the woman pulls out a cleansing wipe to quickly re
Lingerie gift results in collapse of a marriage in China
A Chinese woman canceled her marriage and is getting divorced in a classic example of a storm in a D-cup. The woman in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou became enraged after her husband’s traditional wedding gift of lingerie was two sizes too small. The pair had been legally married but were holding a belated celebration for friends and family. They had been in a relationship for about three years.  The bride’s dumping of her husband for the unforgivable faux pas played out during a social media video of the wedding party host revealing details of the party’s cancellation and the family’s fury. The video has since gone viral with netizens showing overwhelming support for the brid
How fashion designers are transforming traditional Chinese clothing with Christmas styles
Fashion designers in China have embraced the Christmas spirit this year, transforming the ancient Han dress into festive colors and styles.  Hanfu, or ethnic Han clothing, date back 4,000 years and typically features a sweeping robe depicting dragons or lotus flowers, a cross collar, wide sleeves and a sash.  But just as designers have done with the kimono in Japan, China’s Hanfu has been dramatically reworked too. Yet while many young people have welcomed putting a Christmas spin on the centuries-old attire, Hanfu traditionalists remain concerned at such innovations, said Tan Ningijng, the brand director of Guanzhi Weavings, one of China’s largest online Hanfu stores. Tan said traditionali
Stricter stance: Kids that commit violent crimes in China face tough new laws
China’s top lawmakers are reviewing a plan this week to get tough on violent juvenile offenders and their parents after a spate of murders and violent assaults by children as young as 11 years old.  Not only is China considering lowering the age of criminal liability to 12, but a new draft amendment would expand the scope of crimes that a child can be charged with, notably to allow kids to be prosecuted for violent assaults.  The plan has been submitted to lawmakers and is currently being reviewed.  Separately, a draft for the Law on Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency wants to hold parents or guardians partly responsible for any violent crimes committed by their children. The draft legislat
Love killer: How the Covid-19 pandemic has left the world a more violent place for the LGBTQ community
In some countries, who you love can be deadly. Same-sex activity is illegal in almost 70 countries. In six, it’s punishable by death. These include Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria (the 12 northern states only), Saudi Arabia and Yemen. These were the findings of a world survey on sexual orientation laws released this week that found dozens of nations across the globe still treated same-sex couples as criminals. The organization (The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) found that while there had been considerable progress providing legal protection for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, there were continuing issues in many countries. The most extreme punishm
Fears for fate of China's elderly after pandemic digital boom
Since the coronavirus outbreak, 72-year-old Wang Yingru feels like a stranger in an unfamiliar world. Simple everyday pleasures she used to enjoy, such as visits to the supermarket or using public transport to see friends, are now as impossible as making her own medical appointments. She feels lost and left behind, unable to do anything or go anywhere without the help of her children. To better contain the outbreak and prevent further spread, China quickly digitized its private services this year and placed more emphasis on information collecting.  The public needs to show a digital QR code to enter shopping centers, banks and use public transportation. Hospitals have also rapidly moved res
‘Know my name’: New hit song lambasts culture of domestic violence in China
The women named “Little Juan” are victims of domestic violence, and they could be anyone, or at least that is the message behind a new song from mandopop star Sitar Tan Weiwei.  Titled “Xiaojuan” (Little Juan), the song excoriates the patriarchial system that often results in violence against women. Little Juan is a character, but the song’s lyrics include thinly-veiled references to real-life cases of domestic violence. The word “gas” in the lyrics refers to Lhamo, a Tibetan influencer who was burned alive by her ex-husband in September and died in the hospital. “Sewage” refers to a Hangzhou woman who was killed and dismembered by her husband. He flushed some of her body parts down the sewa
Man arrested for doxxing and ‘slut shaming’ Chinese woman with Covid-19
As a 20-year-old woman surnamed Zhao in southwest China lay in a hospital bed this week being treated for Covid-19, she was unaware of the simmering vitriol gaining momentum online. Unbeknown to her, a 24-year-old man found Zhao’s personal information published on a Chinese health government website, including details that she had been to numerous bars and clubs in the two weeks prior to her diagnosis.  With the click of his keyboard, he posted the unemployed woman’s photo, address, phone number, social media accounts and movements in an alleged attempt to slut-shame and encourage haters to attack her.  What followed in the 24 hours after the man’s doxxing of Zhao was an onslaught of abuse