How lions became an important symbol in Chinese culture
On New Year’s Day, two bronze lions in front of HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong were sprayed with red paint and set ablaze by anti-government protesters furious at the bank for closing the Spark Alliance account, which reportedly raised funds for the protests.  The lions, which have guarded HSBC for almost 85 years, are currently covered as restoration takes place. Perhaps the European managers of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation took a leaf from Chinese architectural tradition when they commissioned the guardian lions in the early 20th century.  Many Chinese-owned buildings, modern and classical, feature stylized lions, one male and one female, at their main entrances. But how d
How lions became an important symbol in Chinese culture
‘City of Darkness’: A tour of the world’s most famous walled neighborhood
“City of Darkness” is an exhibition exploring the long gone Walled City of Kowloon in Hong Kong as photographed by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot. Lambot and Girard set about photographing the Walled City shortly before its demolition in 1994 due to a deep fascination with the site. Nearly 30 years on from the Walled City’s demolition, this project offers a unique insight into the remarkable community, home to an estimated 50,000 people at its peak, and by far the most densely populated neighborhood the world had ever known.
‘City of Darkness’: A tour of the world’s most famous walled neighborhood
Tracking down my secret grandmother in a Chinese city with a Russian past
Harbin, in China’s far northeast, owes its modern beginnings entirely to a railway. For the first three decades of the 20th century, it was effectively a Russian city. It is a place that has sparked my curiosity ever since I came across a 1927 ship’s passenger list that revealed the name of my grandfather Frank Newman’s “second wife”: Nina Kovaleva, 25, born in Sevastopol, Russia. He would leave his Shanghai-based family with her in the early 1930s. The list also named a daughter, Kyra, aged five, born in Harbin. It was a stunning revela­tion. It implied that my grandfather, an inspector for the Harbin postal sub­district from about 1912, had led a double life for at least a decade. I conta
Tracking down my secret grandmother in a Chinese city with a Russian past
How Nepalese Gurkhas helped put down the 1960s riots in Hong Kong
This article is an edited excerpt from the book Gurkha Oddysey: Campaigning for the Crown by Peter Duffell. We had our first taste of impending troubles in Hong Kong caused by the Cultural Revolution during the Easter holiday of 1966.  On April 6 in the late afternoon, we had returned to Queen’s Hill [a barracks located in the northern part of Hong Kong] from a battalion-command-post exercise testing our vehicle-mounted radio systems. We were looking forward to the Easter break. We picked up some news of rioting in Kowloon and decided that we would leave the radios mounted in the vehicles in case a call came. At 1am that call did indeed come.  Without warning, we were rudely awakened by the
How Nepalese Gurkhas helped put down the 1960s riots in Hong Kong
Are these the faces of China's first royal purge?
Chinese researchers have reconstructed the faces of a young man and woman who might be the victims of China’s first – and most gruesome – royal purge. The faces are believed to be two of the many sons and wives of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. The remains were found in and around the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in Xian, in China’s northwest Shaanxi province. The complex is the largest tomb on planet Earth, extending over an area of more than 21 square miles. The site is world-famous for its army of terracotta soldiers, but the core architecture of the 250-foot-tall, pyramid-shaped mound, which houses the emperor’s coffin and treasures, remains largely unexplored. The wom
Are these the faces of China's first royal purge?
This is the island that will host Trump and Kim’s historic meeting
The resort island of Sentosa in Singapore will be hosting a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12. The island is most well known as a tourist destination today, thanks to its historical legacy… …and its Universal Studios theme park. The island was originally named Pulau Belakang Mati, which means "Island of Death from Behind" in Malay. It was later renamed to Sentosa, which means “peace and tranquility.” The Singaporean government has declared the island a "special event area" during the summit and will be restricting its air space from June 11 to June 13.
This is the island that will host Trump and Kim’s historic meeting
How the Hong Kong government is trying to rewrite the city’s history
The Hong Kong government is rewriting the city’s history, one phrase at a time. Over decades, Hong Kong officials and citizens alike have used the word “handover” to describe the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule in 1997. But the city’s official Protocol Division, which helps to host foreign dignitaries, has erased any mention of a “handover of sovereignty” from its website, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday. That was just the latest in a series of phrases in the city’s official lexicon that have come under scrutiny, at a time when the Chinese government is tightening its control of information over everything from news to its version of the past. Hong Kong’s no. 2 o
How the Hong Kong government is trying to rewrite the city’s history
Brothels, opium dens and good neighbors in Hong Kong’s ‘City of Darkness’
It was once the most densely populated place on Earth, a lawless slum known for drug dealing, prostitution and gambling.  It was so notorious it even inspired a crime-ridden district in Christopher Nolan's movie Batman Begins. But today there is little trace of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, which today marks the 25th anniversary of its demolition. Situated near the old international airport, it was a high-rise squatter camp with a total area of about 6.63 acres – the size of five football fields – and incredibly housed some 50,000 residents before it was torn down by authorities. ​ That’s a population density of 4.83 million per square mile. In contrast, New York City, the most densely p
Brothels, opium dens and good neighbors in Hong Kong’s ‘City of Darkness’
Life in Central Hong Kong, 1970s vs today
What a difference a few years make. These photos show the pace of Hong Kong’s development in the Central business district since the 1970s and 80s, when the city’s construction boom began to propel its skyline ever-upwards. The price of that progress? The loss of a few of Hong Kong’s most beautiful heritage buildings, for one. Wyndham Street, 1978 1) The distinctive stripes mark the Dairy Farm Depot, built in 1892 as a cold storage warehouse and dairy.  2) Jimmy’s Kitchen opened in 1928, serving international comfort food to military officers and homesick expats. It’s been in the same location since 1975. 3) The Jimmy’s Kitchen sign still exists – it’s just blocked by one of the many covere
Life in Central Hong Kong, 1970s vs today