Inkstone answers

Inkstone answers

Your China questions, answered.

Inkstone answers: what do Hong Kong’s protests mean for Taiwan?
Huge protests have forced Hong Kong’s leader to apologize (twice) over an unpopular extradition bill that many felt could erode the city's autonomy from mainland China. The bill sought to allow Beijing to extradite suspects from the former British colony, which was promised a great deal of autonomy when it returned to Chinese rule. The plan is now dead in all but name after 2 million people took to the streets on Sunday to protest it. But it was not just Hong Kong’s fight, and the fallout has already hit the whole region – in unexpected ways. Patrick, an Inkstone reader at the University of Virginia, asked us how this all played out across the strait in Taiwan. The answers to that could be f
Inkstone answers: how do Hong Kong protesters rest, eat and pee?
It’s the number-one priority for anyone attending a big public gathering, no matter its political persuasion. As Hong Kong remains on edge after thousands of people gathered on Wednesday to protest a contentious extradition bill, an Inkstone reader living in New York asked us several practical questions: “How do they rest, eat, or go to the bathroom? How do they get the information about where to go and what to wear?” (We’re now taking your questions on Hong Kong. Subscribe to our newsletter here to join the conversation. For a blow-by-blow account of Wednesday’s protests, check out the South China Morning Post’s live coverage.) It’s no trivial task to feed big crowds and empty their bladder
Inkstone answers: why Chinese are learning English and more
What’s one of the trickiest parts of having a population of 1.4 billion people? Making sure they all get an education. We asked our newsletter subscribers what they wanted to know about China’s education system. Here are the answers to questions on everything from English-language learning to how children study the complex Chinese characters. Subscribe to our newsletter and let us know what else you want to know about. Q: Why does China make it mandatory to learn English? A: As Rammstein sang, “we're all living in Amerika, Amerika, Amerika.” With English as the world’s most widely spoken language, it makes sense to teach it to the inhabitants of the world’s most-populous country. But that w
Inkstone answers: why China can’t build a good jet engine and more
China wants to become a high-tech superpower. One of the hardest parts of that ambition? Getting airborne. We asked our newsletter subscribers what they wanted to know about China’s aviation industry. Here are the answers to questions on everything from China’s equivalent to the Air Force One, to why a country that has launched lunar probes and built aircraft carriers has yet to develop an engine for commercial jetliners. Subscribe to our newsletter and let us know what else you want to know about. Q: When President Xi flies, does he have access to a special plane? A: Communist Party leaders do not have personal jets like Air Force One (or Air Force Un). Instead, they take specially kitted-o
Inkstone answers: can China steal the idea of a flying tire, and more
As American and Chinese negotiators search for a deal to end a disruptive US-China trade war, we asked our newsletter subscribers: “What is the one thing about China-US trade that, for the life of you, you just can’t figure out?” Here are the answers to your questions on everything from the copyright of imaginary technology, to the possible threats posed by the very real rise of China’s global influence. Subscribe to our newsletter and let us know what else you want to know about. Q: Did Donald Trump start the trade war to protect America’s economic interests or contain the Communist Party’s influence? A: Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to save Americans from exploitation by China. Th
Inkstone answers: where China’s politicians stay in Beijing and more
As China’s elites gather in Beijing for the country’s “two sessions” political meetings, we’ve invited readers to ask the questions they want answers to. So there are the answers to your questions on everything from swanky hotel stays to drinking tap water. Subscribe to our newsletter and let us know what else you want to know about. Q: Why does the meeting last two weeks if it’s mostly rubber-stamping? A: Rituals are key to Communist Party politics. Although important decisions have already been made by a small group of leaders (and as some have argued, by Xi Jinping himself), the party needs to demonstrate that people’s voices are somehow heard in its system. During the two weeks, the Nat