Long Reads

Former University of Tennessee associate professor Hu Anming, 52, one of several researchers who have been arrested and accused of failing to disclose their ties with China over the past two years under the China Initiative. Photo: Blount County Sheriff’s Office
How US scheme to catch Chinese spies is enabling what it tries to prevent

Launched in 2018, the China Initiative has largely failed in rooting out spies in America’s corporations and labs, but has succeeded in driving many pioneering scientists back to China.

22 Jan 2022 - 6:15AM
This picture taken on March 6, 2013 shows a landfill in the new territories of Hong Kong as the Chinese city of Shenzhen looms in the background.  Official data shows that the city generates about 19,000 tonnes of solid waste every day, with 9,100 tonnes dumped into landfills -- two thirds of it domestic waste. Only 52 percent of total waste is recycled in a city that produces an average of 921 kilograms of rubbish per person per year, which is more than twice the amount compared to Japan (410kg) and South Korea (380kg), according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.  AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)
How Hong Kong’s big, stinking, toxic waste problem is becoming a crisis

Landfills close to full, a government dragging its feet, and the public’s indifference about recycling or sustainability leaves the city under growing pressure to implement solutions.

15 Jan 2022 - 8:00PM
A black and white ruffed lemur at Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Central. 30NOV21 SCMP / Xiaomei Chen
Is Hong Kong zoo stuck ‘in the dark ages’ or inspiring the young?

The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, founded 150 years ago, faces questions about the welfare of the animals – apes, monkeys, birds and reptiles – in its cramped enclosures.

9 Jan 2022 - 8:39AM
Seto Gin, aka Lung Ying Lim, or maybe Mrs Chung Lei, drug smuggler, San Francisco, circa 1939.  The San Francisco Examiner Sat Jan 7 1939.
The mysterious Chinese beauty caught smuggling drugs to the US

When ‘Seto Gin’ arrived in San Francisco from Hong Kong with a trunk of opium in 1939, authorities scrambled to unravel the case of the ‘broke banker and his comely concubine’.

8 Jan 2022 - 7:02AM
Handout image shows Liu Tian - The First Zhijiang International Youth Art Festival, Xiangshan Art Commune, 2019.

CREDIT:  Liu Tian
How investment in art sets Hangzhou apart from other cities in China

Shanghai may be known as China’s cultural capital, but Hangzhou’s expanding art infrastructure and laid-back ethos have created a vibrant scene.

2 Jan 2022 - 10:15AM
Komusubi Terunofuji prepares for his bout against Shimanoumi on day fourteen of the Grand Sumo November Tournament in Tokyo in 2020. Photo: Getty Images
Why Mongolians dominate sumo, Japan’s national sport

The emergence of Mongolian wrestlers, with new techniques, skills and philosophy, and a dearth of home-grown talent, has created a new era for the sport.

18 Dec 2021 - 1:15PM
They may look like angels when they’re sleeping... A new mother relives the lengths to which she and her husband will go to keep their twins from waking prematurely. Photo: Getty Images
‘They’ve only just got off!’ 3 terrifying (almost) true tales of a new mother

As the festive season approaches and 2021 draws to a close, a Hong Kong mother relives the lengths to which she and her husband will go to keep their twins from waking prematurely.

12 Dec 2021 - 1:15PM
Mao Zedong, chairman of the Chinese communist party from 1949 to 1976, in November 1967. Mao’s birthday fell on December 26. Photo: Getty Images
Murder, Mao, meddling monks: 12 days of Christmas you don’t hear sung about

Need a break from the usual holiday headaches? Then take a look at our alternative 12 days of Christmas – a historical hodgepodge of festive feats, fails and foul plays.

11 Dec 2021 - 7:38AM
An image of Clara’s family in The Nutcracker, an upcoming production by the Hong Kong Ballet. Photo: Hong Kong Ballet
Why Hong Kong Ballet’s Nutcracker production is a love letter to the city

Hong Kong Ballet’s profile has never been higher and, despite the pandemic setting back its international ambitions, the company is set to wow the city with its upcoming production of The Nutcracker.

5 Dec 2021 - 10:15AM
An 1870 illustration shows foreign residences and a Catholic church in Yokohama, a Japanese port city south of Tokyo. Catholics went underground after the Tokugawa shogunate introduced a ban on Christianity in 1620; it was lifted in the late 19th century. Picture: Getty Images
From Shinto to cults and Jesus’ secret mission, Japan’s history of religion

Jesus’ burial in a northern Japanese village might be one of the country’s stranger tales but the land of eight million gods unsurprisingly has a complex relationship with religion.

4 Dec 2021 - 7:50AM
Kam Kwan-lai and daughter Yvonne Kam at the renovated Yung Kee. Photo: 
SCMP/Antony Dickson
Yung Kee restaurant looks to the future by celebrating the past

Roast goose restaurant Yung Kee, a landmark of the Hong Kong dining scene for generations, recently reopened following a multimillion-dollar renovation.

30 Nov 2021 - 5:36PM
The Chairman of the French tea company Mariage FrËres, Kitti Cha Sangmanee of Thailand, flanked by director Franck Desains (L) poses in one of his shops in Paris on October 12, 2011. Mariage FrËres tea company was founded by the brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage in Paris on June 1, 1854. The last owner descending from the founding family was Demoiselle Marthe Cottin, who found two young and enthusiastic foreigners, ready to carry on the legacy of Mariage FrËres, Dutchman Richard Bueno and Kitti Cha Sangmanee. Bueno died after a terrible illness in 1995 and Kitti Cha Sangmanee now runs the company alone. Mariage FrËres has established guiding informations on the art of making fine tea, and this for all of their hundreds of teas : selecting water, selecting a teapot, temperatures, infusion times, quantities of tea to use, etc. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET

CREDIT: AFP
The 167-year-old French company that mastered selling China’s best teas

Mariage Freres sells the finest tea from three dozen countries, including Chinese, Japanese, Indian and English teas, but might have vanished in the 1980s were it not for two young men.

3 Dec 2021 - 3:18PM
Aerial view of buildings in China’s Hengqin New Area (top) and residential buildings in Macau (bottom) on August 17, 2021. Photo: VCG via Getty Images
On Chinese islands next to Macau, great stories played out

Transformed today, the once verdant islands of Dom João, Montanha and Lapa, later Xiao Hengqin, Da Hengqin and Wanzai, had a tumultuous history of pirates and war.

21 Nov 2021 - 1:15PM
The Tamora Group’s Avia Blue Lagoon in Nusa Ceningan, Bali. Photo: Tamora Group
Bali luxury property: telling the real from the spiel

Developers on the Indonesian holiday island are selling investors on a post-pandemic boom in long-term rental demand, but buyers shouldn’t expect to make a quick buck, experts say.

20 Nov 2021 - 10:25AM
A night view of the M+ museum and the West Kowloon arts hub in Hong Kong. The museum opened four years late and in a very different political and cultural climate from the one at the time the district was conceived in 1996. Photo: Martin Chan
For the world, and for Hong Kong too? M+ museum opens its doors

Hong Kong’s museum of visual culture has opened, after much delay and controversy, in a city much changed since its conception. Whether it can fulfil its global ambitions and satisfy Beijing remains to be seen.

12 Nov 2021 - 7:15AM
Sarah Kong at her new home in Altrincham, northwest England. Photo: Red Door News
A new place to call home: Hong Kong migrants in northern England

Recently arrived Hong Kong migrants talk about getting to grips with life in the UK, what the future may hold and all they have left behind.

11 Nov 2021 - 8:30AM
The Taipei Marriott hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: EPA-EFE
What Marriott hotels’ net zero by 2050 pledge means for climate fight

The Marriott International hotel group has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. How will it go about reaching that goal and will it deliver genuine carbon reduction?

6 Nov 2021 - 4:15PM
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Priscilla Chan photographed at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Headquarters in Redwood City, San Francisco, California. 07.10.2021 

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Priscilla Chan opens up about life with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Chan, wife of the social media network’s founder, reveals the role of board games in a successful marriage, and talks about their weekly dates and giving away 99 per cent of their wealth.

6 Nov 2021 - 9:18AM
A farmer works with silkworm cocoons in a silkworm farm in Xingyi, in southwest China’s Guizhou province. Photo: Getty Images
How silk is made, its history in China and farmers’ odd figure of worship

Author Victoria Finlay traces the fascinating origins of China’s silk industry, from moth larvae to an ancient emperor’s new clothes, in this edited excerpt from her latest book.

31 Oct 2021 - 10:15AM
Dr. Jigmet Wangchuk. 

Credit:  Bhat Burhan
Doctor’s double whammy of Covid-19 and conflict on the China-India border

Dr Jigmet Wangchuk knew that life would be tough when he transferred to a remote town in India’s Ladakh region, but little could he have guessed the reality.

2 Nov 2021 - 11:55AM