Elaine Yau

Based in Beijing, Elaine is a senior reporter on the culture desk. She covers food, fashion, travel, health and fitness, music, film and TV, arts, lifestyle, as well as insider tips on the best of Beijing. She studied translation in Hong Kong and taught secondary English before joining the South China Morning Post.
Elaine Yau
Based in Beijing, Elaine is a senior reporter on the culture desk. She covers food, fashion, travel, health and fitness, music, film and TV, arts, lifestyle, as well as insider tips on the best of Beijing. She studied translation in Hong Kong and taught secondary English before joining the South China Morning Post.

Latest from Elaine Yau

Beijing fans of Hong Kong film and Canto-pop hold parties to reminisce, and introduce them to a new generation

They grew up watching Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan films, and listening to the likes of Canto-pop duo Tat Ming Pair. These fans of Hong Kong pop culture in Beijing hold regular parties to indulge their passion.

23 Aug 2019 - 12:45PM

They grew up watching Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan films, and listening to the likes of Canto-pop duo Tat Ming Pair. These fans of Hong Kong pop culture in Beijing hold regular parties to indulge their passion.

Beijing fans of Hong Kong film and Canto-pop hold parties to reminisce, and introduce them to a new generation
The man behind Nezha, summer Chinese box office hit: they call him ‘Dumpling’ and he’s on a roll

A self-taught animator making his feature film debut at the age of 38, Yang Yu, known as Jiaozi, meaning ‘dumpling’, has seen a long-held dream come true; now he and his team are working on a Chinese historical epic.

16 Aug 2019 - 3:35PM

A self-taught animator making his feature film debut at the age of 38, Yang Yu, known as Jiaozi, meaning ‘dumpling’, has seen a long-held dream come true; now he and his team are working on a Chinese historical epic.

The man behind Nezha, summer Chinese box office hit: they call him ‘Dumpling’ and he’s on a roll
China sci-fi film Shanghai Fortress fails to build on The Wandering Earth’s success

Critics, film-goers blast the alien invasion fantasy, rated 3.3 out of 10 on film rating website Douban, for lead actor Lu Han’s bad acting and its incoherence; its director takes responsibility for failure in apologetic Weibo post.

13 Aug 2019 - 7:25PM

Critics, film-goers blast the alien invasion fantasy, rated 3.3 out of 10 on film rating website Douban, for lead actor Lu Han’s bad acting and its incoherence; its director takes responsibility for failure in apologetic Weibo post.

China sci-fi film Shanghai Fortress fails to build on The Wandering Earth’s success
Amid China boycott of Taiwan film festival, five other times it used culture as a political tool

K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu, Taiwanese actor Leon Dai, Hong Kong’s Denise Ho, Anthony Wong and Chapman To have all faced Chinese bans inspired by politics and nationalism, and they’re not the only ones.

7 Aug 2019 - 7:44PM

K-pop singer Chou Tzu-yu, Taiwanese actor Leon Dai, Hong Kong’s Denise Ho, Anthony Wong and Chapman To have all faced Chinese bans inspired by politics and nationalism, and they’re not the only ones.

Amid China boycott of Taiwan film festival, five other times it used culture as a political tool
Is Hong Kong safe to visit as protests continue to grip the city? Advice for tourists

With disruption to transport, widespread shop closures and frequent protests that have turned increasingly violent, overseas tourists have been warned to take precautions in Hong Kong.

9 Aug 2019 - 1:28PM

With disruption to transport, widespread shop closures and frequent protests that have turned increasingly violent, overseas tourists have been warned to take precautions in Hong Kong.

Is Hong Kong safe to visit as protests continue to grip the city? Advice for tourists
China’s ancient rituals brought to life by video project hoping to educate next generation and foreigners

History professor Peng Lin is on a mission to celebrate ancient Chinese values and rituals. In his latest video project, he plans to film the 17 classic rites from the historic Zhou dynasty’s Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial.

6 Aug 2019 - 9:28AM

History professor Peng Lin is on a mission to celebrate ancient Chinese values and rituals. In his latest video project, he plans to film the 17 classic rites from the historic Zhou dynasty’s Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial.

China’s ancient rituals brought to life by video project hoping to educate next generation and foreigners
Who is Li Xian, rising star of China’s Go Go Squid! hit television show?

Despite not being the show’s biggest name, 27-year-old Li Xian was the one fans were screaming for after the TV series Go Go Squid! ended last week.

4 Aug 2019 - 6:30PM

Despite not being the show’s biggest name, 27-year-old Li Xian was the one fans were screaming for after the TV series Go Go Squid! ended last week.

Who is Li Xian, rising star of China’s Go Go Squid! hit television show?
China’s ‘king of reality TV’ on The Rap of China, and how indie music could be next genre to go mainstream

After Chinese streaming giant iQiyi struck gold with The Rap of China it launched a number of similar music contest series. Its latest, The Big Band, hopes to push Chinese indie music into the mainstream.

5 Aug 2019 - 7:48PM

After Chinese streaming giant iQiyi struck gold with The Rap of China it launched a number of similar music contest series. Its latest, The Big Band, hopes to push Chinese indie music into the mainstream.

China’s ‘king of reality TV’ on The Rap of China, and how indie music could be next genre to go mainstream
Unsustainable living: how crazy light shows are damaging China in the name of tourism

The light show that opened Beijing Olympics in 2008 sparked a trend for spectacular illuminations in China. The shows attract tourists, but are criticised for causing light pollution and damaging ecosystems.

23 Jul 2019 - 6:55PM

The light show that opened Beijing Olympics in 2008 sparked a trend for spectacular illuminations in China. The shows attract tourists, but are criticised for causing light pollution and damaging ecosystems.

Unsustainable living: how crazy light shows are damaging China in the name of tourism
British former female boxing champion on fighting prejudice, cancer and formidable opponents

Michele Aboro, a former WIBF super bantamweight world champion, has been sharing her life story of immense resilience around China, having started a boxing academy in Shanghai and a foundation to help young people.

22 Jul 2019 - 8:01PM

Michele Aboro, a former WIBF super bantamweight world champion, has been sharing her life story of immense resilience around China, having started a boxing academy in Shanghai and a foundation to help young people.

British former female boxing champion on fighting prejudice, cancer and formidable opponents
China drone photos of breathtaking scenery and nature show a side of the country rarely seen

Chinese photographer Lyu Fengxiao has spent the last 12 years travelling the country looking for the best nature shots, capturing rolling hills, snow-capped mountains and turquoise waters.

17 Jul 2019 - 7:23PM

Chinese photographer Lyu Fengxiao has spent the last 12 years travelling the country looking for the best nature shots, capturing rolling hills, snow-capped mountains and turquoise waters.

China drone photos of breathtaking scenery and nature show a side of the country rarely seen
Five of the best places in Shanghai for xiaolongbao soup dumplings, offering classic and creative fillings

Thinly wrapped Shanghainese parcels of minced filling in a hot soup are world famous, but where do Shanghai natives like to eat theirs? We sample the top places to eat soup dumplings in the city.

11 Jul 2019 - 7:27PM

Thinly wrapped Shanghainese parcels of minced filling in a hot soup are world famous, but where do Shanghai natives like to eat theirs? We sample the top places to eat soup dumplings in the city.

Five of the best places in Shanghai for xiaolongbao soup dumplings, offering classic and creative fillings
The Chinese film star China barely knows: Tsai Chin – Bond girl, Suzie Wong actress, daughter of Shanghai

Grey’s Anatomy star was the first Chinese Bond girl and the first Chinese actress in a West End show, The World of Suzie Wong. Now 85, she may finally get recognition in China as a documentary about her life is screened.

3 Jul 2019 - 7:56PM

Grey’s Anatomy star was the first Chinese Bond girl and the first Chinese actress in a West End show, The World of Suzie Wong. Now 85, she may finally get recognition in China as a documentary about her life is screened.

The Chinese film star China barely knows: Tsai Chin – Bond girl, Suzie Wong actress, daughter of Shanghai
Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away sets China box office record, trumps Toy Story 4, 18 years after rest of world saw it

The second Studio Ghibli film by anime master Hayao Miyazaki to get a belated cinematic release in China has best opening weekend ever for a Japanese film there, and has sold more than twice as many tickets as Pixar’s new animated release.

27 Jun 2019 - 12:02PM

The second Studio Ghibli film by anime master Hayao Miyazaki to get a belated cinematic release in China has best opening weekend ever for a Japanese film there, and has sold more than twice as many tickets as Pixar’s new animated release.

Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away sets China box office record, trumps Toy Story 4, 18 years after rest of world saw it
Discover Beijing’s quirky tourist attractions – from a century-old bathhouse to VR theme park

Beijing is famous for its historical landmarks like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, but for those who want to venture off the beaten track, Beijing also has plenty of quirky attractions. Here are our top six.

25 Jun 2019 - 7:44PM

Beijing is famous for its historical landmarks like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, but for those who want to venture off the beaten track, Beijing also has plenty of quirky attractions. Here are our top six.

Discover Beijing’s quirky tourist attractions – from a century-old bathhouse to VR theme park
The mountain film festival waking China up to extreme outdoor sports

The Banff Mountain Film Festival, which shows short films about outdoor sports and nature, has found a host of fans in China since its launch in 2010 and is helping drive a growing love of extreme outdoor activities in the country.

17 Jun 2019 - 9:30PM

The Banff Mountain Film Festival, which shows short films about outdoor sports and nature, has found a host of fans in China since its launch in 2010 and is helping drive a growing love of extreme outdoor activities in the country.

The mountain film festival waking China up to extreme outdoor sports
Chinese war film The Eight Hundred’s release cancelled, days after it was pulled from Shanghai film festival

The film, telling the story of Chinese Nationalist soldiers’ defence of a warehouse against the Japanese army during the Battle of Shanghai, was to have opened on July 5; no reason was given for the cancellation.

26 Jun 2019 - 3:43PM

The film, telling the story of Chinese Nationalist soldiers’ defence of a warehouse against the Japanese army during the Battle of Shanghai, was to have opened on July 5; no reason was given for the cancellation.

Chinese war film The Eight Hundred’s release cancelled, days after it was pulled from Shanghai film festival
Major Picasso show in China charts his development as an artist – and how he came into his own

Exhibition at UCCA of 103 works from the National Picasso Museum in Paris will show Chinese people what makes the artist great, its director says.

10 Jun 2019 - 10:26AM

Exhibition at UCCA of 103 works from the National Picasso Museum in Paris will show Chinese people what makes the artist great, its director says.

Major Picasso show in China charts his development as an artist – and how he came into his own
Who is Lang Lang’s new wife? German-Korean Gina Alice Redlinger, 24, is a pianist, too

Lang Lang announced his wedding on Weibo, posting nine photos of the happy couple. Redlinger is a talented concert artist herself, who studied under some world-famous pianists.

4 Jun 2019 - 12:28AM

Lang Lang announced his wedding on Weibo, posting nine photos of the happy couple. Redlinger is a talented concert artist herself, who studied under some world-famous pianists.

Who is Lang Lang’s new wife? German-Korean Gina Alice Redlinger, 24, is a pianist, too
Leslie Cheung cafe in Chengdu, China ensures legacy of Canto-pop and film star lives on

A devoted Cheung fan launched a cafe dedicated to his late idol in Chengdu, China, four years after the star’s death. Cheung was one of the biggest stars of the Hong Kong entertainment industry.

1 Jun 2019 - 9:49PM

A devoted Cheung fan launched a cafe dedicated to his late idol in Chengdu, China, four years after the star’s death. Cheung was one of the biggest stars of the Hong Kong entertainment industry.

Leslie Cheung cafe in Chengdu, China ensures legacy of Canto-pop and film star lives on
Chinese sci-fi writer on being name-checked by Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin and winning place at workshop he teaches

Budding author Zhou Wen won a prize sponsored by George R.R. Martin and a scholarship to a writers’ workshop at which he teaches. A translator by profession, she talks about what makes women sci-fi writers different.

30 May 2019 - 7:53PM

Budding author Zhou Wen won a prize sponsored by George R.R. Martin and a scholarship to a writers’ workshop at which he teaches. A translator by profession, she talks about what makes women sci-fi writers different.

Chinese sci-fi writer on being name-checked by Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin and winning place at workshop he teaches
Last days of Beijing’s oldest bathhouse, a place for rubdowns, cricket fights, and Chinese chess

Demolition threatens Shuang Xing Tang, the Chinese capital’s last traditional bathhouse, built in 1916. It hardly makes money these days, but it’s a place for friends to meet, have cricket fights, play chess – and bring their songbirds.

29 May 2019 - 7:23PM

Demolition threatens Shuang Xing Tang, the Chinese capital’s last traditional bathhouse, built in 1916. It hardly makes money these days, but it’s a place for friends to meet, have cricket fights, play chess – and bring their songbirds.

Last days of Beijing’s oldest bathhouse, a place for rubdowns, cricket fights, and Chinese chess
New in China: indoor surfing, combo of skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing and wakeboarding

China’s first indoor surfing centre, opened last year by a board sports fan whose firm makes surf simulators, is a trendy place to beat the summer heat in Beijing. With lights flashing and music pulsing, surfers ride a 3-metre artificial wave.

23 May 2019 - 4:14PM

China’s first indoor surfing centre, opened last year by a board sports fan whose firm makes surf simulators, is a trendy place to beat the summer heat in Beijing. With lights flashing and music pulsing, surfers ride a 3-metre artificial wave.

New in China: indoor surfing, combo of skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing and wakeboarding
Banishing African stereotypes in China: Beijing photo show uses art to create new narratives

“Sir, where is this place?”, a photo show at Beijing’s A.C. Art Museum Hotel, features works by 14 artists from 10 African countries with an aim to bring new energy to African art in China and create new narratives about the continent.

22 May 2019 - 2:45PM

“Sir, where is this place?”, a photo show at Beijing’s A.C. Art Museum Hotel, features works by 14 artists from 10 African countries with an aim to bring new energy to African art in China and create new narratives about the continent.

Banishing African stereotypes in China: Beijing photo show uses art to create new narratives
Skateboarding: how China built team ahead of 2020 Summer Olympics – and why the sport is good for you

Skateboarding will feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and China has set up training corps around the country. We talk to national team member Liu Jiaming and skate park owner Yang Zi about the sport’s rise in China.

9 May 2019 - 8:00PM

Skateboarding will feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and China has set up training corps around the country. We talk to national team member Liu Jiaming and skate park owner Yang Zi about the sport’s rise in China.

Skateboarding: how China built team ahead of 2020 Summer Olympics – and why the sport is good for you
Grease director Randal Kleiser talks about his VR drama project, Defrost

Kleiser had finished the script for Defrost even before he made Grease in 1978. The VR series has 11 five-minute episodes about a woman who wakes up after being cryogenically frozen.

5 May 2019 - 6:53PM

Kleiser had finished the script for Defrost even before he made Grease in 1978. The VR series has 11 five-minute episodes about a woman who wakes up after being cryogenically frozen.

Grease director Randal Kleiser talks about his VR drama project, Defrost
Avengers in China: more Chinese films to be shot with IMAX cameras after Endgame success

Chinese film-goers are set to enjoy more home-grown films shot with IMAX cameras – just like those used to shoot the Marvel Comics superhero film Avengers: Endgame.

2 May 2019 - 7:58PM

Chinese film-goers are set to enjoy more home-grown films shot with IMAX cameras – just like those used to shoot the Marvel Comics superhero film Avengers: Endgame.

Avengers in China: more Chinese films to be shot with IMAX cameras after Endgame success
The China expat parents choosing public over international schools, and how their kids cope

High international school fees and a hope that their kids will become fluent in Mandarin are driving some expat parents in China to opt for public schools, but language and cultural barriers can be big problems.

30 Apr 2019 - 3:47PM

High international school fees and a hope that their kids will become fluent in Mandarin are driving some expat parents in China to opt for public schools, but language and cultural barriers can be big problems.

The China expat parents choosing public over international schools, and how their kids cope
Fan Bingbing sets social media alight with comeback rumours

Fan disappeared from the limelight last year after a tax evasion scandal. She recently attended a gala in Beijing, sparking rumours of an imminent comeback.

25 Apr 2019 - 3:45PM

Fan disappeared from the limelight last year after a tax evasion scandal. She recently attended a gala in Beijing, sparking rumours of an imminent comeback.

Fan Bingbing sets social media alight with comeback rumours
China’s plant-based alternatives to take on Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods – and the world

Whole Perfect Food is among 10 Chinese plant-based meat manufacturers and distributors featuring at Meat Fest in Shanghai on Saturday. The festival hopes to raise the profile of China’s plant-based meat manufacturers.

25 Apr 2019 - 4:39AM

Whole Perfect Food is among 10 Chinese plant-based meat manufacturers and distributors featuring at Meat Fest in Shanghai on Saturday. The festival hopes to raise the profile of China’s plant-based meat manufacturers.

China’s plant-based alternatives to take on Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods – and the world