Elaine Yau

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

Coronavirus: how to lower the risk of infection while flying – and remember, the air in aircraft cabins is much fresher than in your home or office

If you are worried about catching the coronavirus on a flight, relax. Airliner cabin air is changed every two to three minutes, and an infected person has to be within a metre of you to pass it on – so pick a window seat.

15 Feb 2020 - 9:30PM

If you are worried about catching the coronavirus on a flight, relax. Airliner cabin air is changed every two to three minutes, and an infected person has to be within a metre of you to pass it on – so pick a window seat.

Coronavirus: how to lower the risk of infection while flying – and remember, the air in aircraft cabins is much fresher than in your home or office
After Parasite’s Oscars triumph, film fans wait on its China release; some think state censors won’t allow it in cinemas

With no information about a cinematic release in China for South Korean winner of best picture Oscar, some film fans doubt it will be shown. Chinese censors have banned several recent Korean films.

15 Feb 2020 - 9:33PM

With no information about a cinematic release in China for South Korean winner of best picture Oscar, some film fans doubt it will be shown. Chinese censors have banned several recent Korean films.

After Parasite’s Oscars triumph, film fans wait on its China release; some think state censors won’t allow it in cinemas
Coronavirus: how straight-to-streaming film successes threaten cinemas in China

The coronavirus has led to the closure of China’s cinemas and some films are being released on streaming platforms. Because of the large numbers of Chinese stuck at home, viewing figures have shot up, causing great concern for cinema owners.

12 Feb 2020 - 8:51PM

The coronavirus has led to the closure of China’s cinemas and some films are being released on streaming platforms. Because of the large numbers of Chinese stuck at home, viewing figures have shot up, causing great concern for cinema owners.

Coronavirus: how straight-to-streaming film successes threaten cinemas in China
Chinese image maker talks about creating Fan Bingbing’s look, the beauty of a flat face, and why men should wear skirts

Image consultant Li Dongtian started out styling hair on Chinese film sets, and has worked with leading actresses such as Fan Bingbing, Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh.

9 Feb 2020 - 7:30PM

Image consultant Li Dongtian started out styling hair on Chinese film sets, and has worked with leading actresses such as Fan Bingbing, Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh.

Chinese image maker talks about creating Fan Bingbing’s look, the beauty of a flat face, and why men should wear skirts
Coronavirus: race to save Wuhan’s starving pets as owners unable to return to homes

Volunteers from animal rescue groups are racing to save thousands of pets in Wuhan after the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus prevented owners returning home. Some pets have already died.

7 Feb 2020 - 3:05PM

Volunteers from animal rescue groups are racing to save thousands of pets in Wuhan after the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus prevented owners returning home. Some pets have already died.

Coronavirus: race to save Wuhan’s starving pets as owners unable to return to homes
Will a Chinese Disney or Studio Ghibli emerge? As appetite for animation in China grows, quality of domestic production improves

China may be looking to challenge US and Japanese dominance of the animation industry. With a growing appetite for animated films and series, new animation studios opening and sharing platforms expanding the market, the sky is the limit.

6 Feb 2020 - 9:33AM

China may be looking to challenge US and Japanese dominance of the animation industry. With a growing appetite for animated films and series, new animation studios opening and sharing platforms expanding the market, the sky is the limit.

Will a Chinese Disney or Studio Ghibli emerge? As appetite for animation in China grows, quality of domestic production improves
China Lunar New Year film launches scrapped over Wuhan virus outbreak, in blow to cinemas, which make 10 per cent of their takings over 16-day holiday

Seven films that would have been competing for a slice of box office earnings over the holiday, the most lucrative period of the year for cinemas, have been pulled from release because of the developing coronavirus outbreak.

23 Jan 2020 - 3:08PM

Seven films that would have been competing for a slice of box office earnings over the holiday, the most lucrative period of the year for cinemas, have been pulled from release because of the developing coronavirus outbreak.

China Lunar New Year film launches scrapped over Wuhan virus outbreak, in blow to cinemas, which make 10 per cent of their takings over 16-day holiday
Short-video producers feed on growing interest in ancient Chinese dress, make-up and music, drawing millions of followers online

One presents Chinese clothing and make-up styles from over 1,000 years ago, another plays an ancient musical instrument, a third promotes classical dance – short-video makers in China have carved out a lucrative niche online.

22 Jan 2020 - 10:02AM

One presents Chinese clothing and make-up styles from over 1,000 years ago, another plays an ancient musical instrument, a third promotes classical dance – short-video makers in China have carved out a lucrative niche online.

Short-video producers feed on growing interest in ancient Chinese dress, make-up and music, drawing millions of followers online
How Malaysia and Singapore’s film industries, spotlighted by mainland China’s Golden Horse Awards boycott, are getting a boost

Last year’s Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan shone a spotlight on the Malaysian and Singaporean film industries after Southeast Asian productions won a number of gongs following a mainland Chinese and partial Hong Kong boycott.

13 Jan 2020 - 7:45AM

Last year’s Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan shone a spotlight on the Malaysian and Singaporean film industries after Southeast Asian productions won a number of gongs following a mainland Chinese and partial Hong Kong boycott.

How Malaysia and Singapore’s film industries, spotlighted by mainland China’s Golden Horse Awards boycott, are getting a boost
Where to find Beijing’s best street food: a trip through the capital’s warren of hutongs

Beijing is famous for its food, found in tourist hotspots around the city, but some of the best street food is sold in Beijing’s hutongs or alleyways. Here are five of the best snack shops.

9 Jan 2020 - 8:31PM

Beijing is famous for its food, found in tourist hotspots around the city, but some of the best street food is sold in Beijing’s hutongs or alleyways. Here are five of the best snack shops.

Where to find Beijing’s best street food: a trip through the capital’s warren of hutongs
The Farewell set to bomb in China as Awkwafina’s Golden Globe win fails to generate box office interest

Advance ticket sales for the opening day of The Farewell in Chinese cinemas are so low the film is unlikely to be a hit there. Its co-producer is unmoved. If we got Angelababy to play the lead instead of Awkwafina, it wouldn’t be the same film, she says.

14 Jan 2020 - 12:43PM

Advance ticket sales for the opening day of The Farewell in Chinese cinemas are so low the film is unlikely to be a hit there. Its co-producer is unmoved. If we got Angelababy to play the lead instead of Awkwafina, it wouldn’t be the same film, she says.

The Farewell set to bomb in China as Awkwafina’s Golden Globe win fails to generate box office interest
Fabulous frocks: Chinese artist takes fashion to its extremes with wearable art for a cause – ‘maybe people say I’m crazy’

Would you wear a dress made out of plastic church models, anti-pollution masks, or inflatable doves? Chinese artist Kong Ning does, as a way of highlighting pressing issues such as pollution and world peace.

7 Jan 2020 - 7:28PM

Would you wear a dress made out of plastic church models, anti-pollution masks, or inflatable doves? Chinese artist Kong Ning does, as a way of highlighting pressing issues such as pollution and world peace.

Fabulous frocks: Chinese artist takes fashion to its extremes with wearable art for a cause – ‘maybe people say I’m crazy’
Bruce Lee’s story next for us, says Ip Man 4 producer, as Donnie Yen calls film ‘a very good ending’ to his kung fu acting career

Actor reassures fans at kung fu film festival in Foshan, China, he’ll still be making films, as co-producer of Ip Man 4, Yen’s kung fu movie swansong, says series will pivot to life of Ip’s disciple Bruce Lee.

19 Dec 2019 - 4:29PM

Actor reassures fans at kung fu film festival in Foshan, China, he’ll still be making films, as co-producer of Ip Man 4, Yen’s kung fu movie swansong, says series will pivot to life of Ip’s disciple Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee’s story next for us, says Ip Man 4 producer, as Donnie Yen calls film ‘a very good ending’ to his kung fu acting career
China’s cancer patients hit by new law on experimental drug treatments not approved by government

The law, which came into effect on December 1, forbids pharmaceutical firms giving patients drugs from unapproved clinical trials, but cancer sufferers benefiting from the drug courses want their treatment to continue.

12 Dec 2019 - 10:19AM

The law, which came into effect on December 1, forbids pharmaceutical firms giving patients drugs from unapproved clinical trials, but cancer sufferers benefiting from the drug courses want their treatment to continue.

China’s cancer patients hit by new law on experimental drug treatments not approved by government
Asian TV bosses prioritise original content to challenge Netflix, from nature and history documentaries to reality-TV shows

To defend their home markets against the challenge of global streaming platforms and grow audiences overseas, Asian media firms are making more original content, including co-productions.

9 Dec 2019 - 7:47PM

To defend their home markets against the challenge of global streaming platforms and grow audiences overseas, Asian media firms are making more original content, including co-productions.

Asian TV bosses prioritise original content to challenge Netflix, from nature and history documentaries to reality-TV shows
A Chinese Netflix? Bilibili makes a play for Gen Z viewers in China with documentaries and reality shows co-produced by overseas partners such as the BBC

Video-sharing website Bilibili is partnering with overseas content producers on documentaries and reality shows geared to the youthful end of the Chinese market.

3 Dec 2019 - 8:04PM

Video-sharing website Bilibili is partnering with overseas content producers on documentaries and reality shows geared to the youthful end of the Chinese market.

A Chinese Netflix? Bilibili makes a play for Gen Z viewers in China with documentaries and reality shows co-produced by overseas partners such as the BBC
Chemical in home renovations linked to child leukaemia, lymphoma cases in China; more than 70 per cent come from homes recently renovated, doctor says

Formaldehyde, widely used in building materials and furniture, suspected by doctor as cause of rising admissions of children with blood cancers at top hospital in southwest China.

1 Dec 2019 - 7:49PM

Formaldehyde, widely used in building materials and furniture, suspected by doctor as cause of rising admissions of children with blood cancers at top hospital in southwest China.

Chemical in home renovations linked to child leukaemia, lymphoma cases in China; more than 70 per cent come from homes recently renovated, doctor says
Michelin Guide Beijing gives three stars to Xin Rong Ji in inaugural list of city’s best restaurants

Xin Rong Ji was the only restaurant to be awarded three stars by the prestigious guide in its first edition for Beijing. Vegetarian restaurant King’s Joy and Wulixiang Shanghai Cuisine each received two stars, while 20 restaurants were awarded one star.

29 Nov 2019 - 12:24AM

Xin Rong Ji was the only restaurant to be awarded three stars by the prestigious guide in its first edition for Beijing. Vegetarian restaurant King’s Joy and Wulixiang Shanghai Cuisine each received two stars, while 20 restaurants were awarded one star.

Michelin Guide Beijing gives three stars to Xin Rong Ji in inaugural list of city’s best restaurants
Hong Kong film stars choose Golden Roosters over Golden Horse Awards on a night when who was where mattered nearly as much as who won what

Andy Lau, Chow Yun-fat and both Tony Leungs among the Hong Kong stars who, forced to choose between awards in mainland China and Taiwan, picked the former; Hong Kong’s Dante Lam wins Golden Rooster for best director.

24 Nov 2019 - 6:48PM

Andy Lau, Chow Yun-fat and both Tony Leungs among the Hong Kong stars who, forced to choose between awards in mainland China and Taiwan, picked the former; Hong Kong’s Dante Lam wins Golden Rooster for best director.

Hong Kong film stars choose Golden Roosters over Golden Horse Awards on a night when who was where mattered nearly as much as who won what
Remember Xu Jiao? Stephen Chow’s CJ7 co-star is all grown up and making her way in the Chinese film business

Xu Jiao played a boy in her first film role opposite the Hong Kong comedy superstar, and says it is still the toughest part she’s played despite her zest for challenging roles. She also talks about the making of romance Miss Forever, opening soon.

2 Dec 2019 - 9:27AM

Xu Jiao played a boy in her first film role opposite the Hong Kong comedy superstar, and says it is still the toughest part she’s played despite her zest for challenging roles. She also talks about the making of romance Miss Forever, opening soon.

Remember Xu Jiao? Stephen Chow’s CJ7 co-star is all grown up and making her way in the Chinese film business
Golden Rooster vs Golden Horse: how top film awards in China and Taiwan could be in direct competition

The Chinese film industry’s Golden Rooster Awards are to become an annual affair, and will be held in Xiamen, opposite Taiwan – a possible challenge to the island’s Golden Horse Awards, which China is boycotting this year.

22 Nov 2019 - 6:38PM

The Chinese film industry’s Golden Rooster Awards are to become an annual affair, and will be held in Xiamen, opposite Taiwan – a possible challenge to the island’s Golden Horse Awards, which China is boycotting this year.

Golden Rooster vs Golden Horse: how top film awards in China and Taiwan could be in direct competition
Themed restaurants in Beijing: schoolroom, river boat, Mongolian yurt, Chinese royal garden among the options for a meal out

There are plenty of Instagram-worthy places to eat in China’s capital city. Here are five where the dining experience is as much about the ambience as it is about the food.

21 Nov 2019 - 7:17PM

There are plenty of Instagram-worthy places to eat in China’s capital city. Here are five where the dining experience is as much about the ambience as it is about the food.

Themed restaurants in Beijing: schoolroom, river boat, Mongolian yurt, Chinese royal garden among the options for a meal out
India’s wrestling prodigy Ritu Phogat now its great MMA hope after slick One Championship debut

After turning her back on 2020 Olympics, Ritu Phogat signals her intentions for One Championship strawweight title bid after demolition job at Age of Dragons.

20 Nov 2019 - 11:58AM

After turning her back on 2020 Olympics, Ritu Phogat signals her intentions for One Championship strawweight title bid after demolition job at Age of Dragons.

India’s wrestling prodigy Ritu Phogat now its great MMA hope after slick One Championship debut
Frozen 2: Lang Lang’s wife Gina Alice Redlinger sings Chinese song promoting sequel

The sequel to the Disney animated hit Frozen opens in China on November 22. The song, River of Remembrance, which Gina Alice Redlinger sings was released to promote the film ahead of its launch in cinemas there.

19 Nov 2019 - 5:29PM

The sequel to the Disney animated hit Frozen opens in China on November 22. The song, River of Remembrance, which Gina Alice Redlinger sings was released to promote the film ahead of its launch in cinemas there.

Frozen 2: Lang Lang’s wife Gina Alice Redlinger sings Chinese song promoting sequel
Artist Anish Kapoor plays with reality in his debut solo show in China, which brings his mirror sculptures indoors for the first time

Concave and made of stainless steel, his artworks create warped impressions of former imperial temple’s columns and beams. They ‘kind of play a game with the viewer’, says Indian-born British sculptor known for his public art such as Cloud Gate in Chicago.

16 Nov 2019 - 8:27PM

Concave and made of stainless steel, his artworks create warped impressions of former imperial temple’s columns and beams. They ‘kind of play a game with the viewer’, says Indian-born British sculptor known for his public art such as Cloud Gate in Chicago.

Artist Anish Kapoor plays with reality in his debut solo show in China, which brings his mirror sculptures indoors for the first time
Collected by actors Louis Koo and Huang Xiaoming, action figures based on Chinese movies and anime are hot property

China’s film merchandise industry is in its infancy, but one growth area is the making of action figures based on characters from animated films such as Nezha; actors Louis Koo and Huang Xiaoming are among collectors of the figures.

13 Nov 2019 - 4:02PM

China’s film merchandise industry is in its infancy, but one growth area is the making of action figures based on characters from animated films such as Nezha; actors Louis Koo and Huang Xiaoming are among collectors of the figures.

Collected by actors Louis Koo and Huang Xiaoming, action figures based on Chinese movies and anime are hot property
UFC in China on the rise, with the most MMA fighters in Asia and a world champion in Zhang Weili

Of the 23 fighters from Asia competing in UFC events today, 10 are from China, and the country could eclipse the US as the sport’s No 1 market. Former Hong Kong Olympic swimmer Matthew Kwok hopes to promote MMA in China with his Legend Fighting Championship.

13 Nov 2019 - 6:02AM

Of the 23 fighters from Asia competing in UFC events today, 10 are from China, and the country could eclipse the US as the sport’s No 1 market. Former Hong Kong Olympic swimmer Matthew Kwok hopes to promote MMA in China with his Legend Fighting Championship.

UFC in China on the rise, with the most MMA fighters in Asia and a world champion in Zhang Weili
The Bookworm, a centre of literary life in Beijing, to close, unable to renew its lease amid crackdown on ‘illegal structures’

A cafe, a community centre, a place for lively discussion and for authors to meet their readers, The Bookworm has been unable to renew its lease amid a crackdown on ‘illegal structures’, leaving supporters saddened.

5 Nov 2019 - 7:55PM

A cafe, a community centre, a place for lively discussion and for authors to meet their readers, The Bookworm has been unable to renew its lease amid a crackdown on ‘illegal structures’, leaving supporters saddened.

The Bookworm, a centre of literary life in Beijing, to close, unable to renew its lease amid crackdown on ‘illegal structures’
How China’s traditional villages are falling victim to its global ambitions

Photojournalist Wang Xiaoyan’s pictures of a tiny settlement nestled in Shanxi’s Taihang mountains reflect the fate of thousands of similar intangible cultural heritage assets that are being lost in the relentless pursuit of economic growth.

3 Nov 2019 - 2:54PM

Photojournalist Wang Xiaoyan’s pictures of a tiny settlement nestled in Shanxi’s Taihang mountains reflect the fate of thousands of similar intangible cultural heritage assets that are being lost in the relentless pursuit of economic growth.

How China’s traditional villages are falling victim to its global ambitions
Treasures of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace restored in painstaking fashion, the work like piecing together a giant Chinese jigsaw puzzle

Artefacts shattered into hundreds of pieces by pillaging French and British soldiers 150 years ago are being painstakingly put back together by heritage restorers in Beijing.

31 Oct 2019 - 12:45PM

Artefacts shattered into hundreds of pieces by pillaging French and British soldiers 150 years ago are being painstakingly put back together by heritage restorers in Beijing.

Treasures of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace restored in painstaking fashion, the work like piecing together a giant Chinese jigsaw puzzle