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

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.

5 hours ago

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
China’s Beyoncé: how freckled, tanned Chinese pop star Naomi Wang Ju is challenging beauty standards

Naomi Wang shot to fame after appearing on a Chinese reality TV show despite being mocked online for being “chunky” and “dark-skinned”. The singer is now redefining the traditional Chinese sense of female beauty.

21 Apr 2019 - 6:12PM

Naomi Wang shot to fame after appearing on a Chinese reality TV show despite being mocked online for being “chunky” and “dark-skinned”. The singer is now redefining the traditional Chinese sense of female beauty.

China’s Beyoncé: how freckled, tanned Chinese pop star Naomi Wang Ju is challenging beauty standards
Kappa China footwear boss on his love of sneakers, street wear and pushing people’s buttons

Timothy Tsang has been collecting sneakers for a decade but doesn’t like it when people buy limited editions just to make a profit. He talks about his personal style and how Kappa is switching its focus.

11 Apr 2019 - 8:40PM

Timothy Tsang has been collecting sneakers for a decade but doesn’t like it when people buy limited editions just to make a profit. He talks about his personal style and how Kappa is switching its focus.

Kappa China footwear boss on his love of sneakers, street wear and pushing people’s buttons
Spain, Bordeaux, Tasmania: young Chinese winery owners bring global vision, business savvy

Howard Chang Kwok’s chateau in Pomerol produces merlot-based wines. A Peking U MBA graduate and his cousin make a range of wines in Tasmania. They and people like them inject not just capital, but new ideas into winemaking.

11 Apr 2019 - 7:58PM

Howard Chang Kwok’s chateau in Pomerol produces merlot-based wines. A Peking U MBA graduate and his cousin make a range of wines in Tasmania. They and people like them inject not just capital, but new ideas into winemaking.

Spain, Bordeaux, Tasmania: young Chinese winery owners bring global vision, business savvy
Rare diseases in China, their high treatment costs, and the people publicising patients’ plight

Yin Yuanyue, 29, is one of the 20 million people who suffer from rare diseases in mainland China, but of the 121 rare conditions on the government register, none entails free treatment.

1 Apr 2019 - 6:27PM

Yin Yuanyue, 29, is one of the 20 million people who suffer from rare diseases in mainland China, but of the 121 rare conditions on the government register, none entails free treatment.

Rare diseases in China, their high treatment costs, and the people publicising patients’ plight
A family divided: separation and estrangement and the social taboos that surround them

Sexual, physical and mental abuse, betrayal and poor parenting are the main causes of estrangement in families. An expert recommends reconnection, but only if any abuse has stopped and everyone is ready for it.

21 Mar 2019 - 8:33PM

Sexual, physical and mental abuse, betrayal and poor parenting are the main causes of estrangement in families. An expert recommends reconnection, but only if any abuse has stopped and everyone is ready for it.

A family divided: separation and estrangement and the social taboos that surround them
Chung Kuo, revisited: how Antonioni’s 1972 documentary on communist China was unfairly attacked – and finally vindicated

The Italian director was invited by the Chinese government in 1972 to make a film singing the praises of the communist revolution. His film was banned in China for 40 years and is the subject of a new Chinese documentary, Seeking Chung Kuo, that talked to people from the original film.

19 Mar 2019 - 6:31PM

The Italian director was invited by the Chinese government in 1972 to make a film singing the praises of the communist revolution. His film was banned in China for 40 years and is the subject of a new Chinese documentary, Seeking Chung Kuo, that talked to people from the original film.

Chung Kuo, revisited: how Antonioni’s 1972 documentary on communist China was unfairly attacked – and finally vindicated
The truth behind compulsive liars: how dishonesty can be sign of a mental health problem

Pathological lying can be a symptom of mental illnesses such as narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. US President Donald Trump and novelist Dan Mallory are among public figures accused of it.

11 Mar 2019 - 8:53PM

Pathological lying can be a symptom of mental illnesses such as narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. US President Donald Trump and novelist Dan Mallory are among public figures accused of it.

The truth behind compulsive liars: how dishonesty can be sign of a mental health problem
How AI is writing books and music, but won’t be replacing humans any time soon

A growing number of creative types around the world are taking advantage of AI technology to supplement their works, but the consensus is that AI lacks the soul to create anything truly great – yet.

10 Mar 2019 - 8:47PM

A growing number of creative types around the world are taking advantage of AI technology to supplement their works, but the consensus is that AI lacks the soul to create anything truly great – yet.

How AI is writing books and music, but won’t be replacing humans any time soon
Green Book has near-record opening weekend in China after Oscar best picture win

Film about the bond between a black pianist and his white chauffeur touring the US Deep South, the first best picture winner with a Chinese co-producer, takes US$15 million in opening weekend in China.

4 Mar 2019 - 7:09PM

Film about the bond between a black pianist and his white chauffeur touring the US Deep South, the first best picture winner with a Chinese co-producer, takes US$15 million in opening weekend in China.

Green Book has near-record opening weekend in China after Oscar best picture win
Future trajectory of science fiction in China uncertain despite soaring success of The Wandering Earth

The box office success of the space rescue film would have been unthinkable five years ago, say promoters of science fiction genre; as yet, relatively few Chinese science fiction writers have enjoyed success.

7 Mar 2019 - 4:27PM

The box office success of the space rescue film would have been unthinkable five years ago, say promoters of science fiction genre; as yet, relatively few Chinese science fiction writers have enjoyed success.

Future trajectory of science fiction in China uncertain despite soaring success of The Wandering Earth
Five rising Malaysian and Singaporean stars who are making waves in Chinese show business

From Singaporean heartthrob Lawrence Wong, a star of Story of Yanxi Palace, to Malaysian singer Azora Chin, young overseas-Chinese entertainers have shone. Here are five that Chinese audiences have taken to their hearts.

1 Mar 2019 - 7:03PM

From Singaporean heartthrob Lawrence Wong, a star of Story of Yanxi Palace, to Malaysian singer Azora Chin, young overseas-Chinese entertainers have shone. Here are five that Chinese audiences have taken to their hearts.

Five rising Malaysian and Singaporean stars who are making waves in Chinese show business
Five actresses who could become the next Fan Bingbing: up-and-coming Chinese talents

After Fan Bingbing’s hasty exit from the spotlight, her position as spokeswoman for many Chinese products is up for grabs. From Dilraba Dilmurat to Zhao Liying, these actresses are making waves in their home market and could take her spot.

23 Feb 2019 - 7:01PM

After Fan Bingbing’s hasty exit from the spotlight, her position as spokeswoman for many Chinese products is up for grabs. From Dilraba Dilmurat to Zhao Liying, these actresses are making waves in their home market and could take her spot.

Five actresses who could become the next Fan Bingbing: up-and-coming Chinese talents
Marin Alsop, pioneering female orchestral conductor, talks gender equality and rising to the top in a male world

The first female music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin will conduct the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Hong Kong. She gives her thoughts on touring China and the state of classical music today.

20 Feb 2019 - 3:57PM

The first female music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin will conduct the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra in Hong Kong. She gives her thoughts on touring China and the state of classical music today.

Marin Alsop, pioneering female orchestral conductor, talks gender equality and rising to the top in a male world