China Policy Institute Blog

Misreading Chinese History

Written by David E. Mungello. An image from the past sometimes becomes embedded in our minds and becomes an emblem, a picture expressing an allegory that shapes our view of an entire age. One such image was a widely reproduced picture of a Catholic priest carrying his suitcase up a gangway into a ship in …

Why Chopsticks? Their Origin and Development in Asian Culinary Culture

Written by Q. Edward Wang. Chopsticks are ubiquitous in Asia. They are so essential for one’s daily life in the region, or the “chopsticks cultural sphere” that encompasses China, Korean Peninsula, Japanese archipelago, and parts of Mongolia and mainland Southeast Asia. This is not only the impression most visitors to the region would have but many …

Regulation of Homosexuality in the Chinese Media Scene

Written by Lianrui Jia and Tianyang Zhou. The story of Anwei and Yebin, a Chinese gay couple now living in a rural village in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China, appeared in the Chinese parenting magazine Ren Zhi Chu. Their story was later picked up by domestic and international news media such as iFeng, the Global Times, and CNN. …

Where is China’s Textile and Apparel Industry Going?

Written by Sheng Lu and Marsha A. Dickson. China is well known as the largest textile and apparel (T&A) producer and exporter in the world, yet China’s T&A industry is also under-going tremendous restructuring and transformation. This article intends to shed light on the broad landscape of China’s T&A industry in the years ahead. Capturing where …

Fashion and Politics: Promoting ‘Designed in China’ through Political Power

By Christine Tsui. In 2012, the Chinese president Xi Jinping initiated an anti-corruption campaign. Although there is no explicit evidence that this was an intentional outcome at which Xi aimed, the fact is that the campaign eventually led to a big decrease in the sale of luxury brands. Because in the past luxury brands were mostly purchased by rich …

Imperial Yellow: A Costume Colour at the Top of the Social Hierarchy

Written by Jing Han. When considering popular colours in China, one’s immediate thought may be of red, the colour of the national flag and the colour of celebration. However, it is actually yellow that dominated the imperial wardrobe in ancient times. This piece will explore the hierarchy of costume colours in ancient China and tell the story of imperial …

Chinese Characteristics: The Next Big (Export) Thing?

Written by John Hartley. In my research field of Cultural Science, the role of ‘we’ and ‘they’ groups in organising knowledge is seen as crucial. Knowledge is rarely neutral. ‘Ours’ is trusted, thick with meanings that bind ‘us’ together, and applicable to all situations, while ‘theirs’ is untrusted, possibly threatening, and not in the least applicable …

Shanghai Tang: China’s Aspiring Global Fashion Brand

Written by Jonathan Schroeder, Janet Borgerson, and Zhiyan Wu. How do Chinese brands draw upon what we call ‘Chinese brand culture’ in order to create distinctively Chinese fashion? Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum in New York hosted its annual Costume Institute exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, which examined 500 years of Chinese influence on European luxury …

Defending the rule of law against … lawyers

Written by Jackie Sheehan. After 2014 was declared the “worst year ever” for lawyers in China, Xi Jinping hasn’t rested on his laurels: since 10 July, an unprecedented round-up of up to 169 lawyers, law-firm staff and legal activists has shaken rights defenders across the country and at least temporarily silenced some of the last outspoken voices …

Fashion, China, and Trends: A Critical Perspective

Written by Tina Mai Chen and Paola Zamperini. In June 2015, the runways for Moda Uomo in Italy celebrated China in more ways than anyone could have expected even in 2007, when Jean Paul Gaultier wove his dystopian haute couture gowns inspired by a delirious conflation of Japanese and Chinese motifs in his Spring collection for …