Comrade Condom

In his unremarkable 22-year life, which ended ingloriously in 1962 when a PLA comrade accidentally backed a truck into a power pole that fell and crushed him, Lei Feng wanted to be nothing more than a selfless "revolutionary screw that never rusts." The Fengster, a man celebrated as a revolutionary icon of Maoist China for…

The Great Wall Goes Missing

William Lindesay has documented the danger facing China’s Great Wall in a series of stunning photographs. After digging up photographs and drawings made over the past 200 years, Lindesay has gone back to the same spot and retaken the same image. After recounting his 2,470 km trek along remains of the Wall, in the 1989…

Art-to-Go: China’s Masterworks Copy Center

Psst, hey, buddy! Looking for a Van Gogh-to-go? Cross through the gates of Dafen, past the enormous bronze hand holding a paint brush rising to the sky, and you'll find it, and thousands of other masterworks, by Rembrandt, Titian, Gainsborough, Picasso and Dali and anyone else you might favor here in this officially designated “art…

We’d Rather Not Say

The environmentalists who set out four years ago to get the world’s industrial giants to track and report their greenhouse gas emissions are running into trouble in Asia. Few companies – including some of the most illustrious names in Hong Kong and China – want to reveal how much greenhouse gas they are actually pumping…

The East Is Praying

It’s 11 am on a Sunday morning and the church is rocking. Built in 2003, the 8,400-square-meter, ark-shaped, four-story house of worship can hold up to 2,000 believers and while about half as many are in the main worship hall, their religious fervor seems about to burst. A guitar, drum and keyboard trio is playing…

Taxis – China’s Deep Throats

It is a miserable winter evening in Beijing, wet and freezing, and the taxi matches the mood – a rickety Charade, the floor covered in dust and the seatcover reeking of a hundred bottoms. We are driving along Wangfujing, Beijing’s main shopping street, past the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “The mistress of the Beijing party chief…

The Gong Show

The average reviewer pours scorn on remakes of old movies or television shows, crying creative bankruptcy. Not me. It’s hard to deny that recycling of characters and plot is wanting in inspiration. But that’s not a large crime in the entertainment world. I admit to a déclassé taste for recycled entertainments. I like the ones…