‘Little by little, the truth is being discovered’: the archive rescuing China’s forbidden films

On the wall of an unassuming second- floor room in Newcastle University sits a map, Blu-Tacked, unframed. At first glance it looks like any other map of China. But on closer inspection, the cities labelled on the map are not just the major urban centres. They are the places that have hosted important film festivals over the years, the details of which are annotated in colour-coded text. Covering the final years of the so-called golden era of the scene, the map shows dozens of film festivals that used to be active across China. There was…

Authors ‘excluded from Hugo awards over China concerns’

Leaked emails from the organisers of the prestigious Hugo awards for science fiction and fantasy suggest several authors were excluded from shortlists last year after they were flagged for comments or works that could be viewed as sensitive in China. In January the Hugo awards published the statistics behind the 2023 awards, which were held as part of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in the Chinese city of Chengdu in October. The data showed that the New York Times bestseller RF Kuang and the young adult author Xiran Jay…

A Chinese woman exercising her right to nap in public: Eric Leleu’s best photograph

I arrived in China in 2005 with a secondhand camera, a laptop and a plan to try to make a living from photography within a year. In the end, I spent 12 years in Shanghai, where I managed to earn enough from commercial work to do projects of my own. When I first spotted people sleeping in public, it completely broke the image I had of China. Like many in the west, I had a preconceived idea of the country as an economic monster and of its people working uncomplainingly,…

Ping Pong review – cheerful, far-fetched caper that dives into London’s 1980s Chinatown

There’s a sweet charm to Leong Po Chih’s 1986 mystery-comedy Ping Pong, set in and around the restaurant businesses of London’s Chinatown, now rereleased. It was produced by Film Four, who two years later brought out Mike Newell’s comparably set Soursweet, based on the Timothy Mo novel, although that is more serious. Ping Pong is eminently likable, though for me there is something perhaps a little soft-edged and carefully paced which dampens the energy a bit. It is a cheerfully far-fetched caper that could have taken some influence from the…

Universal Music Group threatens to pull song catalog from TikTok in furious open letter

Universal Music Group’s agreement with TikTok is set to expire in the next 24 hours after the companies failed to agree on issues including artist compensation and AI, meaning some of the world’s most popular music – including Taylor Swift, Harry Styles and newly viral hit Murder on the Dancefloor – will be removed from TikTok’s library. In a blistering open letter titled “Why we must call Time Out on TikTok” published on Tuesday, UMG, the biggest music company in the world, accused TikTok of attempting to “bully” and “intimidate”…

Amazon’s Expats series not available in Hong Kong, where it is set

Amazon’s big-ticket series Expats, set and filmed in Hong Kong, is not available for viewing in the city despite being billed as a worldwide release. The first two episodes of the drama, starring Nicole Kidman and directed by The Farewell’s Lulu Wang, were released on Friday but listed as “currently unavailable” for viewers in Hong Kong. The series, based on a 2014 novel, The Expatriates, focuses on the lives of three American women in Hong Kong. The production of Expats had been largely welcomed by authorities. In 2021 Kidman was…

‘I didn’t feel like I was supporting a regime’: architect David Chipperfield on working for China

A young woman wearing a short pleated skirt and a white bobble hat is posing for photos on a street corner in Shanghai, telling her friend to ensure that a red brick, colonial-era building features in the background. Nearby, a woman in stilettos and fur coat is being photographed in an arched doorway framed by classical mouldings, while another perches on a windowsill, coffee in hand next to a carved column. The alleyways behind are filled with similar scenes: people posing on steps, next to lampposts or in front of…

Courtroom drama is Hong Kong’s highest grossing Chinese-language film ever

Hong Kong’s highest grossing Chinese language film of all time is a Hong Kong-set courtroom drama exploring themes of power and justice in a city where many feel both have been abused in recent years. A Guilty Conscience, the directorial debut of the Hong Kong screenwriter Ng Wai-lun, tells the story of a single mother wrongly accused of murdering her daughter and the legal battle to clear her name. Released in January 2023, it earned HK$115m (£11.6m) at the Hong Kong box office last year, making it the highest grossing…

Why no concern at prisoners being paid just 50p an hour to work? | Brief letters

Reading another article about Chinese prisoners possibly making products for sale in the UK (Chinese prisoner’s ID card apparently found in lining of Regatta coat, 1 December), I wonder why there is no concern that British prisoners are forced to work for UK companies for about 50p an hour? This work provides no training for release and serves only to enrich private prison contractors.David AdamsDarlington, County Durham How appropriate that on the day you note that Katherine Rundell, the author of The Golden Mole, has won the Waterstones book award…

New Karate Kid movie with Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan in the works

Following the success of the TV series Cobra Kai, a new Karate Kid movie featuring Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan has been announced, along with a global casting call to find a teenage star for the film. Macchio, who starred in the first three Karate Kid movies between 1984 and 1989 before returning to anchor Cobra Kai which first aired in 2018, and Chan, who appeared in the 2010 reboot starring Jaden Smith, appeared together in a short video to make the announcement. The casting notice suggested the film will…