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
Shanghai Disneyland reopens
Shanghai Disneyland has reopened to visitors last week after a four-month shutdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but things haven’t fully returned to normal just yet.
Chinese city sorry for shaming people for publicly wearing pajamas
A Chinese city has apologized for naming and shaming people for wearing pajamas in public. In a crackdown on “uncivilized behavior,” the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou on Monday publicly disclosed the information of seven citizens who fell afoul of the supposed dress code. A now-deleted online post on the city's official social media accounts publicized the surnames, headshots and redacted ID numbers of six women and one man going about their day in colorful PJs. It also included their places of "crime." The campaign is an example of China’s efforts to shape citizens’ seemingly innocuous behavior to carry out its vision for “civilized” society and the increasing role of technology in enforc
What makes Elon Musk dance like nobody’s watching in China
The video came with a warning, for good reason. Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, shared footage of him awkwardly dancing on stage at a Shanghai event for his electric car company.  In his own telling, the video of his flailing limps was “NSFW!!” – not safe for work – internet lingo usually applied to porn and other stuff you don’t want to be caught watching in the office. At Tesla Giga Shanghai NSFW!! pic.twitter.com/1yrPyzJQGZ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2020 Scripted or not, Musk’s unabashed display of joy is testimony to the good fortune he’s had in China as he sought to expand Tesla’s sales and production.  The Shanghai event was held on Tuesday to mark the delivery to cust
The most competitive cities: China vs rest of the world
By ranking fourth in the world, the megacity of Shenzhen was the highest-ranking Chinese metropolis in a new study that ranked how important a city is to the global economy.  China generally performed well in the rankings, but the list was dominated by the US.  New York City topped the chart for the third consecutive year. London took the second spot, followed by Singapore and Shenzhen. San Jose, California took fifth and Tokyo was sixth.  The report, which was produced by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the United Nations Human Settlements Program, measured a city’s economic influence based on its “connectivity.” Connectivity was defined by both “hard” and “soft” networks.  The
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
Muji says sorry after calling parts of Shanghai the ‘French Concession’
Japanese retailer Muji has apologized in China after using the term “French Concession” to refer to a historic neighborhood in Shanghai in a marketing campaign. The term, which is still commonly used in the megacity, angered some Chinese internet users who found it insulting because it invoked an era in which China had to grant a number of concessions to countries such as France, Britain, the US and Japan. The former French Concession was an area run by French diplomats from 1849 to the 1940s, where extraterritoriality prevailed. Despite decades of redevelopment, the tree-lined area retains a distinctive European character and is still considered one of Shanghai’s top residential and retail
What Shanghai needs to become a financial hub of the world
American companies had high expectations when China announced in 2009 its plan to transform Shanghai into an international financial center by 2020. It wouldn’t be easy. While centers like London, New York and Tokyo have the infrastructure and legal environment needed for traders, asset managers and global banks to execute transactions, China had a non-convertible currency, a closed internet and other characteristics inconsistent with a global trading center. Still, there was cause for optimism. Although China had been dragging its feet on commitments made during its accession to the World Trade Organization, in many ways the economy was moving steadily in a more liberal direction, with incr
Police bust Shanghai toy boy club
An expensive private women’s club in Shanghai has been busted after word got out online of how one of its male escorts was showered with luxury gifts – including an Audi – on his birthday. “The club was shut down by the police force on Saturday,” an officer from a station in the neighborhood said, without elaborating. According to a post about the Perfect Space club that went viral on WeChat on Friday, one of its escorts celebrated his 28th birthday with 28 gifts from a rich woman. These included an Audi, a gold cup and 280,000 yuan ($41,600) in cash. A photo in the post purported to show wrapped gift boxes piled on the floor, occupying half the room. Digging by intrigued internet users rev