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

Jeremy Lin relishing life in China with Beijing Ducks – ‘I got the chance to lead a team’

Former NBA champion is fully fit and firing in preseason as the Beijing Ducks look to him to deliver a fourth CBA title.

19 Oct 2019 - 11:40AM

Former NBA champion is fully fit and firing in preseason as the Beijing Ducks look to him to deliver a fourth CBA title.

Jeremy Lin relishing life in China with Beijing Ducks – ‘I got the chance to lead a team’
China bans exports of black clothing to Hong Kong amid protests; all mailings to city ‘severely investigated’, courier firm worker says

Courier companies in China have issued notices of a ban on the export to Hong Kong of items including black clothing, and a courier firm worker affirms the ban. Protesters have adopted as their uniform black T-shirts, jeans and sneakers.

17 Oct 2019 - 12:27PM

Courier companies in China have issued notices of a ban on the export to Hong Kong of items including black clothing, and a courier firm worker affirms the ban. Protesters have adopted as their uniform black T-shirts, jeans and sneakers.

China bans exports of black clothing to Hong Kong amid protests; all mailings to city ‘severely investigated’, courier firm worker says
Chinese underwater filmmaker turns her lens on China to show what lives, and lies buried, in the depths of its lakes and seas

Globetrotting underwater filmmaker Zhou Fang realised the rest of the world knows more about Chinese marine life than its own people do. She puts that right with documentary Underwater China, screening on iQiyi.

14 Oct 2019 - 4:03PM

Globetrotting underwater filmmaker Zhou Fang realised the rest of the world knows more about Chinese marine life than its own people do. She puts that right with documentary Underwater China, screening on iQiyi.

Chinese underwater filmmaker turns her lens on China to show what lives, and lies buried, in the depths of its lakes and seas
David Hockney in the house: Beijing temple’s revival starts with art museum – Shanghai Xintiandi restorer talks us through the project

Longfu Temple, near the Forbidden City is being turned into a new cultural destination under a project overseen by Tony Wong; M Woods Museum recently opened there with an inaugural show by British artist David Hockney.

10 Oct 2019 - 8:28PM

Longfu Temple, near the Forbidden City is being turned into a new cultural destination under a project overseen by Tony Wong; M Woods Museum recently opened there with an inaugural show by British artist David Hockney.

David Hockney in the house: Beijing temple’s revival starts with art museum – Shanghai Xintiandi restorer talks us through the project
How brands like Patagonia are using regenerative agriculture in China to lessen fashion’s damage

Patagonia’s push for clothing made from hemp and Chinese brand Bombyx’s US$140 million eco-friendly silk farm show that fashion doesn’t have to be so destructive by embracing the idea of ‘regenerative agriculture’.

3 Oct 2019 - 9:03PM

Patagonia’s push for clothing made from hemp and Chinese brand Bombyx’s US$140 million eco-friendly silk farm show that fashion doesn’t have to be so destructive by embracing the idea of ‘regenerative agriculture’.

How brands like Patagonia are using regenerative agriculture in China to lessen fashion’s damage
Chinese national day holiday box office winners and losers: from My People, My Country to The Captain, patriotism rules

China’s national day holiday box office takings rose to US$224 million, led by omnibus historical film My People, My Country and true-life aviation drama The Captain. Among other big earners was mountaineering drama The Climbers.

2 Oct 2019 - 8:58PM

China’s national day holiday box office takings rose to US$224 million, led by omnibus historical film My People, My Country and true-life aviation drama The Captain. Among other big earners was mountaineering drama The Climbers.

Chinese national day holiday box office winners and losers: from My People, My Country to The Captain, patriotism rules
Move over, Barbie: Chinese toymakers set sights on cracking global market with local designs

An increasing number of Chinese toys are poised to crack the fiercely competitive global toy market now dominated by giant US and Japanese manufacturers.

16 Sep 2019 - 8:15AM

An increasing number of Chinese toys are poised to crack the fiercely competitive global toy market now dominated by giant US and Japanese manufacturers.

Move over, Barbie: Chinese toymakers set sights on cracking global market with local designs
Golden Horse Awards boycott: why it will be business as usual between China, Taiwan film industries

Relationship between film industries on island and in mainland China will survive the latter’s absence from ‘Chinese Oscars’, say industry insiders; Beijing sees cultural exchanges as furthering its goal of reunification, says one.

12 Sep 2019 - 7:56PM

Relationship between film industries on island and in mainland China will survive the latter’s absence from ‘Chinese Oscars’, say industry insiders; Beijing sees cultural exchanges as furthering its goal of reunification, says one.

Golden Horse Awards boycott: why it will be business as usual between China, Taiwan film industries
Plant-based alternative meats for Chinese food – dim sum, hotpot, mooncakes and more – set for launch

You won’t get Western offerings like Impossible Foods’ meatless burgers from Chinese firm Zhenmeat, with its plant-based products targeting local cuisine including dim sum, hotpot, mooncakes and regional dishes.

5 Sep 2019 - 9:01PM

You won’t get Western offerings like Impossible Foods’ meatless burgers from Chinese firm Zhenmeat, with its plant-based products targeting local cuisine including dim sum, hotpot, mooncakes and regional dishes.

Plant-based alternative meats for Chinese food – dim sum, hotpot, mooncakes and more – set for launch
Ai Weiwei says Hong Kong protests part of global freedom struggle, which he’ll reflect in opera production

Chinese dissident artist says the protests, which his team are filming for a documentary, are part of ‘the global youth revolution’, and that he’s still working out how to reflect the struggles in his upcoming production of the opera Turandot.

4 Sep 2019 - 7:20PM

Chinese dissident artist says the protests, which his team are filming for a documentary, are part of ‘the global youth revolution’, and that he’s still working out how to reflect the struggles in his upcoming production of the opera Turandot.

Ai Weiwei says Hong Kong protests part of global freedom struggle, which he’ll reflect in opera production
China landmarks in Lego: Great Wall, Forbidden City, terracotta warriors and more on display in Beijing

From the Great Wall to terracotta warriors to traditional Fujian earth roundhouses, an exhibition of miniature Chinese landmarks is now running at a Beijing shopping mall until mid-October.

3 Sep 2019 - 8:04PM

From the Great Wall to terracotta warriors to traditional Fujian earth roundhouses, an exhibition of miniature Chinese landmarks is now running at a Beijing shopping mall until mid-October.

China landmarks in Lego: Great Wall, Forbidden City, terracotta warriors and more on display in Beijing
Which mooncake is your favourite, red or white, sweet or savoury? We talk to an expert about the famous snack

A Chinese tradition with a legendary backstory, mooncakes come in many different styles. We talk to a renowned Beijing pastry chef about the origins and variations of the festive treat.

29 Aug 2019 - 8:46PM

A Chinese tradition with a legendary backstory, mooncakes come in many different styles. We talk to a renowned Beijing pastry chef about the origins and variations of the festive treat.

Which mooncake is your favourite, red or white, sweet or savoury? We talk to an expert about the famous snack
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.

24 Aug 2019 - 8:25PM

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