Xi Jinping wears a parka and the company’s stock soars
While stock markets are known to fluctuate in reaction to global events, it seems they also now respond to fashion choices. Chinese President Xi Jinping has sparked a financial fashion frenzy when he wore a US$1000 cobalt blue parka that sent the stock market soaring on Tuesday. Xi was wearing the coat while inspecting the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics site, and the images were splashed around news bulletins but barely caused a ripple on social media – because of the brand’s elite urban customer base. However, its impact was felt most on the Hong Kong stock market with the Anta Group – who own the brand Arc’teryx – jumping to 9.4% – on the same day. An official sponsor of the 2022 ga
Want to be Beijing cool? Try bird watching
Beijing is a global city famous for its symbols of Chinese history, governance and culture. It is not, however, known for its connection to mother nature.  But those prejudices may not be entirely accurate, and young people across the city are discovering a fact about the city: it boasts a remarkable biodiversity, especially for birds.  Li Siqi is one of these young birding enthusiasts. The 20-year-old woman took up the hobby in 2013 after she, “took a photo of a pretty bird and then started looking online to find out what it was. That got me interested.” Li now owns an environmental education company that takes families birdwatching, and she also teaches children about nature and birds bot
China is trying to press mute on noisy public transportation
Major cities in China are trying to lower the din on public transportation by introducing “quiet cars” or punishing people for using their phone speakers with no headphones on the subway.  In China, there are differences in opinion about whether or not being noisy in public should be regarded as impolite because it can be interpreted as a sign of vibrancy and energy.   But for large swaths of the younger generations, it is important to be quiet on public transportation to show respect to other passengers. Authorities in China appear to have decided that quiet is better.  Last week, Chinese railway authorities started offering a “quiet train carriage” for some high-speed routes. According to
Want to tour Beijing? Airbnb may not be a feasible option
The Chinese capital has dealt a significant blow to Airbnb in the city by banning short-term stays in the city’s heart, saying they could create a security problem.  The ban affects the Dongcheng district, which includes famous tourist attractions like Tiananmen Square, Zhongshan Park and the Forbidden City. It also applies to the Xicheng district, a popular area for dining. A ban on short-term stays essentially kills the Airbnb business model in the areas.  Beijing said criminal networks and terrorists could use short-term stays at Airbnbs, and the ban aims at improving security in the “core central administrative zone” that is home to China’s top officials. The ban is set to come into effe
Rare protest in Beijing puts the spotlight on an industry in trouble
Hundreds of Chinese parents took to the streets in Beijing on Monday to demand a refund from an education company they feared was about to join a wave of business closures, highlighting the economic stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In a rare display of anger at the heart of the Chinese capital, the demonstrators gathered outside an office building and demanded that Youwin, an afterschool tutoring company, return their deposits. They eventually spilled into the streets and blocked traffic until the police ushered them back onto the sidewalk. Some of the parents said Youwin owed them more than $10,000 in prepaid tuition and had been unable to get a refund. Messages in a WeChat group 
China Trends: a 1980s Chinese song goes viral and Beijing on coronavirus lockdown
Every Tuesday and Thursday, China Trends takes the pulse of the Chinese social media to keep you in the loop of what the world’s biggest internet population is talking about. Xue Hua Piao Piao Bei Feng Xiao Xiao Who would have thought that a song from 1983 would go viral in 2020? That is the case for “Yi Jian Me” (one plum blossom), performed by Fei Yu-ching.  Specifically, it is the line “Xue Hua Piao Piao Bei Feng Xiao Xiao” that has become fodder for short videos on social media. The lyrics translate to, “the snow is fluttering and cold wind is blowing.”   The song originally went viral in China in January, before slowly migrating over to the non-Chinese internet via YouTube and Instagram
How China controls 1.4 billion people’s movement within its borders
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Imagine growing up in rural America, dreaming of leaving the drudgery of small-town suburbia to pursue the glitz and glamor of the big city. Then imagine that a special registration system, required at birth, would issue a document that results in a life spent on the fringes of the concrete jungle. This theoretical document wouldn’t be much of a roadblock for relocation, but, because it is stamped “rural,” enrolling in schools would be difficult, health care access would be limited and it would be impossible to get certain jobs. This scenario is analogous
China’s security law in Hong Kong: What you need to know
A controversial national security law concerning Hong Kong is expected to be on the agenda as China’s rubber-stamp legislative body, the National People’s Congress, began its most important annual meeting on Friday.  The law would ban all seditious activities aimed at toppling the central government and external interference in the city’s affairs, as well as target terrorist acts in Hong Kong. Beijing’s plan to make the law was announced less than a year after a proposal to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China sparked months of street unrest. Chinese officials have blamed foreign interference for fueling the protests. Critics of the expected legislation, including Hong Kong’s
The best (and worst) cities in Asia to live and work abroad
Living abroad can be a life of romance, personal growth and exciting opportunities. Or it can be a nightmare of expensive rent, culture shock and loneliness.  But if you are to take the plunge, Asian cities could be your best bets, according to a recent survey. Four of the top five of the world’s best cities for expatriates to live are in Asia, according to the survey of more than 20,000 expatriates. Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, topped the chart for the second year in a row. Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, came in second while Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was third. Singapore was ranked as the fourth-best city for expatriates while Montréal rounded out the top five as the only non-A