Culture

  • Jul 23 , 2021 | Culture
    China is home to 56 ethnicities, each with their own distinct cultures and their own traditional sports. As Asia stages two Olympics in less than a year, we explore China’s traditional sports and the people who keep them alive. With annual national games in China, some of these competitions are experiencing a revival as the next generation take the torch and carry on their legacy.
  • Jul 10 , 2021 | Culture
    Many Chinese painters of the past century were acutely aware of the importance of nature — and how we, as humans, are but temporary guests in the magnificence of the natural world. They used their works, and the associations with literature, calligraphy and spirituality, to gently make their point. Our Host James Chau interviews Catherine Maudsley, Curator and Senior Advisor of the M K Lau Collection.
  • Jul 05 , 2021 | Culture
    The M K Lau Collection contains many important examples of Chinese paintings including Four Seasons by Zhang Daqian — and other expressions of rural life, mountainous landscapes, and flowers and trees. More so, they express how to peacefully co-exist with nature and the planet. Our Host James Chau interviews Catherine Maudsley, Curator and Senior Advisor of the M K Lau Collection.
  • Jul 02 , 2021 | Culture
    Join us for a special series on 20th century Chinese paintings from the M K Lau Collection. Co-presented with Sotheby's, the collection was invited to show 36 works in Hong Kong this year, that highlight the colors, technique, and imagination — in contrast to the chaos of that historical period. Our Host James Chau interviews Catherine Maudsley, Curator and Senior Advisor of the M K Lau Collection.
  • May 28 , 2021 | Culture
    Jingdezhen, an eastern Chinese city, is the center of China’s ceramics culture, and has driven the export of “fine china” to the world. Artist and studio owner Amber Lei shares the history of how ceramics came to be so celebrated in China and beyond with our Host James Chau.
  • May 25 , 2021 | Culture
    Chinese ceramics brought Amber Lei to China from the UK. Now, she operates a studio and gallery in Hong Kong. Amber meets with Host James Chau to discuss her journey and exploration of her craft and her heritage.
  • May 15 , 2021 | Culture
    As a young child, Charles Ray's imagination was captured by National Geographic. As an adult, he served as an overseas envoy, moving to China in the early 1980s. He was stationed in Guangzhou and Shenyang — two cities in the south and northeast that were largely unknown to the outside world. Our Host James Chau speaks to Amb. Ray about his story, and how it began in a Texan town called Center.
  • Apr 15 , 2021 | Culture
    In this second episode with international concert violinist Tasmin Little and yangqin player Reylon Yount, they explore the relationship between our planet and the music they perform. As one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, China's culture has a strong link to the natural world, from the designs on its traditional instruments, to the melodies that inspired its composers. Tasmin, our new music contributor, draws on Reylon's background as an environment major at Harvard and how he merges this interest with his musical career.
  • Apr 11 , 2021 | Culture
    The yangqin is a traditional Chinese instrument that originated from Iran when connections created by the Silk Road opened up ideas and cultures. In her first interview as our Music Contributor, international concert violinist Tasmin Little speaks to Reylon Yount, a Chinese American graduate from Harvard who plays the yangqin as a soloist and with Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. He recalls his unlikely story with the instrument, which he began learning in San Francisco and later in Beijing where his mother's family are from.
  • Mar 31 , 2021 | Culture
    Tucked between Beijing’s crowded streets are a labyrinth of alleys and courtyard houses. Together, they form a historical community that has found new life in today’s mega metropolis. Our Host James Chau explores the alleys and courtyard homes known locally as ‘hutong’ and ‘siheyuan’.
  • Feb 25 , 2021 | Culture
    Preserving Cultural Traditions
  • Feb 22 , 2021 | Culture
    China is known for inventing some of the most important tools in the history of mankind. One of these inventions is paper. Finnish artist Juho Könkkölä uses Chinese rice paper to create immaculate paper samurais using a historic paper folding technique. Our Host James Chau explores the extensive history of rice paper and how it is used to connect cultures.
  • Feb 19 , 2021 | Culture
    Next Horizon How We Live
  • Feb 18 , 2021 | Culture
    Wang Yuyang is an artist whose works are known internationally — particularly his intricate paintings and photographs of the moon’s surface. His artistic portrayal of the solar system evokes a hopeful message, especially at a time when the world is experiencing a pandemic. Based in Beijing, but born in Harbin, Wang looks back at his childhood, and the transformation from poverty to better opportunities.
  • Feb 15 , 2021 | Culture
    Throughout history, the moon has captured the human imagination — serving as a symbol in many cultures and traditions. From Neil Armstrong's 1969 landing to China's recent lunar mission, our relationship with the moon has taught us to reach for the stars. Our Host James Chau speaks with artist Wang Yuyang about his fascination with the solar system.
  • Feb 04 , 2021 | Culture
    Celebrating Lunar New Year during a global pandemic brings new meaning to the holiday. Also called Spring Festival, this holiday celebrates the arrival of a new moon and follows a zodiac made up of 12 animals, representing a 12 year cycle. This Lunar New Year welcomes the Year of the Ox, which astrologers say will bring honesty and positivity. Our Host James Chau explores the meaning of the ox zodiac and the light it may shine on 2021. Happy Lunar New Year!
  • Feb 03 , 2021 | Culture
    Gathering for a meal with loved ones is a classic holiday tradition, but this Lunar New Year will be different. Eating with loved ones is a central part of Lunar New Year, as millions make the long journey home each holiday season to gather at the table with friends and family. While this is normally the world’s largest annual migration of people, this year many are choosing to celebrate remotely due to the ongoing pandemic. Wherever you’re celebrating, our Host James Chau and The China Current hope you can enjoy a meal with someone you love and wish you a Happy Lunar New Year!
  • Feb 01 , 2021 | Culture
    Billions across the globe will celebrate Lunar New Year this week. While many will travel home to visit their loved ones, others will celebrate remotely, making the best of this challenging time. Our Host James Chau and The China Current wish you a safe and happy Lunar New Year.
  • Nov 06 , 2020 | Culture
    Diplomat and author Kishore Mahbubani has recently released a book– “Has China Won?”– about China and its people, and the power the country exercises on the global stage. Our Host James Chau speaks with Kishore about his book and his inspirations. As a long-time Singaporean diplomat, Kishore shares his experiences with China and its leaders, giving a glimpse of China’s past and where it might be heading.
  • Oct 27 , 2020 | Culture
    The pressures of modern life have made dating more difficult in our rapidly evolving world. Today’s high cost of living, matched with evolving dynamics of education to employment has led to a decrease in marriage, and an increase of single-person households in countries around the world. Our Host James Chau dives into the phenomenon of “singlehood”—and how technology, culture and tradition play a role in partnership.
  • Oct 16 , 2020 | Culture
    A quaint looking small town near Shanghai is an international powerhouse when it comes to violin manufacturing. From humble beginnings creating budget violins, Huangqiao now produces a third of all violins worldwide, annually. Our Host James Chau breaks down how Huangqiao came to be the center of China’s violin industry.
  • Oct 15 , 2020 | Culture
    Music to Bring Us Together
  • Oct 09 , 2020 | Culture
    Culture and art have a newfound significance in a world burdened with a pandemic, where we are living much of our lives in isolation or with restrictions. Two gallerists have opened The Saachi Yates Gallery on Cork Street in London, a street made famous for its history in nurturing and birthing artists and gallerists, like Francis Bacon and Peggy Guggenheim. Gallerists Aurthur Yates and Phoebe Saatchi Yates have claimed this historical spot in London, as they say, “with one foot in the past, and one in the future”– looking to reinvent gallerying in these uncertain times. Our Host James Chau speaks with them from London.
  • Sep 24 , 2020 | Culture
    The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of Asia’s major holidays– and everyone who celebrates it is familiar with mooncakes– a pastry that comes in a variety of flavors that are baked special for the occasion. At Hong Kong’s Ying Jee Club, Chef Siu’s mooncakes have earned a coveted Michelin star. Our Host James Chau visited him to learn what makes his mooncake so special, and to hear the storied history of the mooncake in Chinese culture.
  • Sep 23 , 2020 | Culture
    Known around the world and especially in Asian cultures, Lunar New Year is a time of joyous gathering and celebration. Central to this momentous holiday and many others in Asia is the moon. Every fall, you’ll find Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations on par with any other major holiday in China, and overseas Chinese also take part in the festivities. In this episode, our Host James Chau shares the mythology behind the festival, and how lunar-oriented cultures recognize the holiday.
  • Sep 16 , 2020 | Culture
    Paper is an invention of ancient China– one of the most impactful creations of humankind. The papermaking craft has lasted over 1,200 years, with Anhui province becoming the center of the practice. There, papermaking has become a form of art, with some papers taking years to make. Our Host James Chau describes the intricate processes developed over centuries to make paper so durable that UNESCO has categorized it as a cultural treasure.
  • Sep 07 , 2020 | Culture
    In the southwest corner of China, a lush tropical environment inspired the creation of a gorgeous display of artistry practiced by the Bai people of Yunnan province. Our Host James Chau tells the story of how a thousand-year-old fabric-dyeing technique is still celebrated today, and how the natural landscape has influenced its inhabitants and their shared culture.
  • Sep 03 , 2020 | Culture
    Chinese film has delighted and intrigued international audiences for decades. With growing access and shareability across oceans and borders, Chinese filmmakers are finding their works resonating around the world. And the classics are having a comeback. The 1990s film “Raise the Red Lantern” is a tale of hidden romance and tragic endings. It portrays the complexities and traditions of ancient China– using rich visuals, elegant costume design, and an extraordinary score. Our Contributing Editor Laura De Belgique explains how the decade’s most poignant films allows us a view into the ancient world.
  • Jul 31 , 2020 | Culture
    “Both of my parents never finished high school, but they believed firmly in education.” China’s rise from poverty in the 80s was a herculean feat, lifting millions up by expanding trade and industry and building a more robust education system. The result was families like Elvis’, who, in a single generation, were able to rise above poverty. Elvis shares his childhood stories and family history with our Host James Chau.
  • Jul 29 , 2020 | Culture
    “As much as my experience as an American is not monolithic, I want to express that the Chinese experience is not monolithic at all.” When recent college graduate Maia arrived in China from the U.S., she experienced first-hand a fast developing nation with a rich, relatable culture. Maia speaks with our Host James Chau about her learnings and feelings brought about by her visit to China, as well as the resilience of recent graduates who are entering into a very uncertain future.
  • Jul 22 , 2020 | Culture
    Released in 2019, American Factory is an Academy Award-winning documentary follows a Chinese manufacturer that moves to Ohio. It tells the story of friendships, tensions, and cultural gaps, at a time when the US and China are leading the global economy. Our Host James Chau and Contributing Editor Laura de Belgique offer analysis on the acclaimed film.
  • Jul 08 , 2020 | Culture
    China’s thousands of years of history are filled with countless stories of human growth, culture, and civilization, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Liangzhu aims to preserve one such story of historical significance. The remains of the 5,000-year-old city contain traces of complex societal hierarchy, primitive technology, and unique artifacts that show the ways people lived millennia ago. In its place now stands modern-day Hangzhou, an innovation hub that is home to some of the world’s leading tech giants. This meeting point between the past, present, and future provides an important lens to view human civilization—and the ancient ruins of Liangzhu are a reminder of where that journey began.
  • Jun 02 , 2020 | Culture
    Although they are not with us today, our ancestors shine a continuous reflection on our lives, influencing our perceptions and interactions with the world in subtle yet powerful ways. In her latest film—The Farewell—actor, author, comedian, and rapper, Awkwafina returns to her Asian roots—telling the story of her grandmother’s last days and the ancestral background underpinning a new generation. It reveals the cultural nuances of an American woman finding comfort—and conflict—with her family’s heritage. Our Host James Chau speaks to our Contributing Editor Laura de Belgique about the importance of identity and ancestry.
  • Oct 10 , 2019 | Lifestyle
    Chinese dumplings are enjoyed everywhere, but a group of young Yale and Peking University graduates are now popularizing a lesser-known style of Chinese comfort food in the US. Yong Zhao and Chef Lucas Sin are the co-founder and culinary director of Junzi Kitchen, which boasts a menu of thoughtful, northern Chinese comfort foods, such as noodles and "bings," a thin, savory pancake often sold as a street snack. With multiple restaurants already across New Haven and New York, Junzi Kitchen highlights the versatility and nuance of Chinese food and artfully leverages the appeal of global food culture with fast-casual dining to make this lesser-known cuisine accessible to everyone. Join James in New York, where he tries out Junzi's new branch near Bryant Park!
  • Aug 26 , 2019 | Lifestyle
    A new hit series is taking the Internet by storm – and it’s about life in China more than 1,000 years ago. ‘The Longest Day in Chang’an’ – similar in format to the U.S. show ‘24’ – breaks down one full day in the Tang Dynasty, complete with drama, intrigue, and mystery. With great acting and painstaking research, it’s bringing history back to life.
  • Jul 15 , 2019 | Culture
    Victo Ngai is an illustrator who is Guangdong-born, Hong Kong-raised, and Los Angeles-based. As a child, she was exposed to classical Chinese ink paintings and later trained in art with a teacher in Shenzhen. But today, she draws on many references: from Japanese woodblock prints, to American painter Norman Rockwell, and British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The result is unique and fascinating, with clients including Apple and GE.
  • Jul 15 , 2019 | Culture
    Alan Skalaski is an American artist in China to learn about art conservation and preservation. He is studying the art of Dunhuang, the oasis city in Western China’s Gobi desert, located at the religious and cultural crossroads of the old Silk Road and home to the renowned Mogao Caves, the UNESCO World Heritage site that features a network of 492 ancient Buddhist temples. This is his story.
  • Jun 11 , 2019 | Lifestyle
    Charles Stevens, a college student at the University of St Andrews, traveled along the Silk Road last year - the ancient route that has fascinated traders and travelers for centuries. Today, though, it has transformed into a modern journey full of opportunity and innovation that is charting a model for the global future. I sat down with Charles in Hong Kong, 60+ days after he left his home in London to begin his journey. It's an incredible real-life tale of adventure, business and infrastructure - but mostly, people.
  • Apr 16 , 2019 | Lifestyle
    A 200 year-old Swiss textile company finds inspiration from the snowy Forbidden City to historical motifs in Chinese design. Camilla Fischbacher talks to James Chau about her family's legendary brand, Christian Fischbacher, and how the melting pot of globalization is shaping contemporary design, fashion, art, and architecture across both the West and the East.
  • Mar 15 , 2019 | Culture
    Novelist and New York Times writer Ming Liu, who turns her voice to maybe China's greatest export – food. But what makes it so good? Interview by James Chau.