Chinese culture

Chinese culture

What are Confucius Institutes and why are some closing?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. First set up in 2004 in South Korea, Confucius Institutes (CIs) are officially aimed at promoting Chinese language and culture around the world. These institutes, named after the country’s most renowned philosopher, are normally run as joint-ventures between Chinese and international universities, and are operated and partly funded under the auspices of the education ministry’s Chinese Language Council International, known as the Hanban. All CIs teach Chinese language and culture but their other offerings vary. Some offer credit-bearing courses to univers
Coronavirus might change how Chinese families eat together
For 40 years, Linda He and her family had served themselves from a single communal dish, picking up food with the same chopsticks they used to eat their meal as part of a long dining tradition in Chinese communities. But that changed last month when she started something of a dining table revolution: she added a second pair of chopsticks – just for serving. “Sharing food has been a tradition, but I have always thought we should abandon it because it helps spread diseases,” said He, who lives with her parents and child in Shanghai. The terror of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many people in China to examine their eating habits, in much the same way as it has prompted people around the worl
The secret links between Chinese and Thai food
Chinese and Thai cultures are linked for more than just their love of food. They have also been trading cooking styles and ingredients for generations. Traders from both regions often traveled between the two countries, bringing spices and cooking techniques to the other. You can taste it in Thai cooking today. We meet Chinnapatt Chongtong, founder of the Chili Paste Tour and a Thai food expert, in Bangkok to find out where these links come from and the Chinese culinary traditions hidden in plain sight in Thailand.
A piece of Chinese heritage struggles to survive
It’s 5.50am, with just a faint purple light glowing on the horizon, when a group of children aged six to 15 march diligently towards their classrooms.  At 6.15am, they begin lessons in Chinese, English and math. At 7.50am, they stop for breakfast.  There’s no time to linger, students must be clean and dressed by 8.30am, when they head upstairs to two spacious rooms on the first floor of an L-shaped building near the center of Liaoning’s provincial capital, Shenyang.  Here the real training begins. This is not academics, but acrobatics. The boys and girls prepare to bend their bodies back­wards until they can hold their legs with their hands.  “One, two, three!” instructs Wang Ying, 47, head
Chinese state media approves of YouTube star Li Ziqi
A woman from southwestern China, whose YouTube video channel celebrating rural life is followed by nearly 7.5 million people, has been hailed by state media for her role in promoting Chinese culture. Li Ziqi, 29, from Pingwu in Sichuan province, started her video blogs on traditional food and crafts three years ago after giving up city life to return to the village where she was raised by her grandparents. Li, who now looks after her grandmother, has a library of 100 videos that have been seen tens of millions of times by audiences across the world.  Supporters argue that she has done more to sell Chinese culture than the Confucius Institute, the government-backed soft power promotional org
Norah Yang: introducing stand-up comedy to China
As a female comedian who performs in both English and Chinese, Norah Yang is a rarity in the world of stand-up comedy. Hailing from China, she did her first show in New York in October 2019. Yang spoke to the South China Morning Post about the emerging stand-up comedy industry in China and the funny business of bringing humor with Chinese characteristics to an international audience. 
Lion dancing isn’t just a sport for boys
Growing up in Philadelphia, when Cassandra Liu wanted to join a lion dancing team in the city’s Chinatown, her mother said no. “She said it was too far and too dangerous,” Liu says. Her mother’s other big concern was that lion dancing was “a sport made for boys.” Today, the 26-year-old is living in Southern California. Not only is she a lion dancer, but she is also the captain of her troupe and is using her position to make sure that no aspiring lion dancer is ever discouraged like she was. She insists that no matter what your background or gender, you too can be a lion dancer – if you are willing to sweat. The proof of her vision is in her team: the Shaolin Entertainment Lion Dance Troupe,
Incredible paper gowns by Chinese folk artist
A Chinese paper-cutting master, Yang Caixia, has made nine gowns out of red paper. All the dresses are decorated with traditional lucky patterns, and have their own matching headpieces. Paper-cutting is one of the oldest traditional Chinese artforms, and declared by the United Nations as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.