China's stock market and the rise of the 'pyjama traders'

  • 13 January 2016
Two stock investors knit in the brokerage house in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, 07 January 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Grannies and aunties are among the millions of individuals investing in China's stock market

China's volatile shares have affected millions of individuals - the shop owners, pensioners and other small traders, who make up 80% of China's investors. How have China's stock exchanges come to be dominated by "traders in pyjamas"?

When my Aunt Jin retired from her sedentary office job at the age of 55 several years ago, she spent some time wondering what to do with her golden years. She started by going dancing with her old friends from work but then she moved away from her old apartment and gradually that hobby fizzled out.

Thankfully my outgoing aunt never keeps still for very long - she's always got a new interest bubbling away.

Shortly after hanging up her dancing shoes she found a new pastime. She started watching various TV talk shows that teach old-timers how to become rich.

'Self-made billionaires'

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many retirees have been keen to grow their savings by investing in the stock market

You can see the attraction. These shows are usually fronted by pundits dressed as sophisticated self-made billionaires - a bit like a TV version of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Read full article China's stock market and the rise of the 'pyjama traders'

The 'Michelin curse' comes to Hong Kong

  • 10 January 2016
Customer stares at dumplings
Image caption One customer who seems as keen on the dumplings as the Michelin judges

Winning recognition in the annual Michelin Guide is one of the most sought-after honours in the restaurant business.

But in Hong Kong, a city plagued by high rents, the accolade may bring unexpected challenges.

Read full article The 'Michelin curse' comes to Hong Kong

The 'unprecedented' case of the missing Hong Kong bookseller

  • 4 January 2016
A pro-democracy demonstrator burns a letter next to pictures of missing staff members of a publishing house and a bookstore, including Gui Minhai, a China-born Swedish national who is the owner of Mighty Current, Cheung Jiping, the business manager of the publishing house and Causeway Bay Books shareholder Lee Bo (L-R), during a protest to call for an investigation behind their disappearance, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong, China 3 January 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption (L to R) Gui Minhai, Cheung Jiping and Paul Lee, whose pictures were held up by protesters on Sunday, have gone missing in recent days

When four associates of the Causeway Bay Bookstore went missing last October, it was their colleague, Paul Lee who raised the alarm.

Mr Lee, who along with his wife, is a shareholder in the bookstore and the publishing house that owns it, took charge of briefing journalists, dealing with advocacy groups and speaking with law enforcement officials.

Read full article The 'unprecedented' case of the missing Hong Kong bookseller

Zhou Enlai: Was Communist China's first premier gay?

  • 30 December 2015
Li Fujing (left) and Zhou (right) pictured as young men Image copyright New Century Press
Image caption Tsoi Wing-mui argues that Li Fujing (left) and Zhou (right) were more than just close friends

Handsome and urbane, Zhou Enlai presented a modern, progressive face of China at home and abroad during more than 25 years as the country's first premier.

Like Mao Zedong, he was a colossal figure in the Communist Party.

Read full article Zhou Enlai: Was Communist China's first premier gay?

The chill behind China's vision of a 'beautiful' internet

  • 17 December 2015
Wuzhen Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The beautiful waterways of Wuzhen, the venue for the great and the good of the internet world to gather

Wuzhen, I can only imagine, has been chosen as the venue for China's World Internet Conference because it is beautiful.

That is one of the recurring themes of the event: that the internet is a thing of beauty which should be shared and cherished by all mankind.

Read full article The chill behind China's vision of a 'beautiful' internet

Questions over Alibaba's Hong Kong newspaper purchase

  • 11 December 2015
Head of Alibaba Group Chinese Jack Ma gestures as he speaks during the "Action Day" at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget north of Paris, Saturday, 5 December 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Ma demanded a correction from the newspaper in 2013 over controversial remarks made in an interview

The employees of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper have been waiting with bated breath for weeks for news on whether they might have a new owner.

The confirmation of its purchase by the Alibaba Group finally came on Friday.

Read full article Questions over Alibaba's Hong Kong newspaper purchase

IS killing of Chinese hostage: A game changer?

  • 19 November 2015
This file combination of undated photos taken from the Islamic State group's online magazine Dabiq purports to show Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48, from Oslo, Norway, left, and Fan Jinghui, 50, from Beijing, China. Image copyright AP
Image caption IS released photos purporting to show Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad and Fan Jinghui

The killing of a Chinese national by the Islamic State (IS) militant group has sent shockwaves across China.

Official reaction was swift. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned IS for the kidnapping and killing of Fan Jinghui, and vowed to "bring the culprits to justice".

Read full article IS killing of Chinese hostage: A game changer?

Hong Kong-China: A growing football rivalry or just politics?

  • 17 November 2015
Hong Kong football fans during a World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and Qatar, in Hong Kong in September 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 'One country, two systems' - and now two distinct football identities too

Around the world, there are legendary, dynastic rivalries in football.

Think Turkey versus Greece, England versus Germany and Brazil versus Argentina.

Read full article Hong Kong-China: A growing football rivalry or just politics?

Macau customs chief death raises questions

  • 5 November 2015
A taxi in which the Casino Lisboa is reflected stops in front of the Grand Lisboa (in background), in Macau in this February 17, 2015 file photo Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Macau has seen rapid development thanks to a boom in its casino industry in the past few decades

Just hours after Macau's first female customs chief was found dead of an apparent suicide, the city's chief executive took the unusual step of holding a news conference.

Lai Man-wa, a mother of two, was found dead last Friday in a public toilet at a luxury apartment complex.

Read full article Macau customs chief death raises questions

Taking stock of China's five year economic model

  • 30 October 2015
Two paramilitary officers guard Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China, 29 October 2015. Image copyright EPA
Image caption China's five year plan system is a Soviet-style throwback from China's communist past

Big changes lie in store for China in the next five years, as the government announces significant policy shifts in its new blueprint for the country. An end to the one-child policy, and a lowered GDP growth goal are the biggest changes to surface so far.

In the coming weeks and months, more details will emerge, explaining how the plan will be carried out and what objectives will be met. It's worth it to pay attention to the details.

Read full article Taking stock of China's five year economic model