Armed police move in against Chinese anti-plant protesters

  • 29 June 2015
Police scuffle with a protestor outside the municipal government headquarters in Shanghai (27 June 2015)
Some protesters are still in detention after being arrested during the six days of protest

For six days last week, thousands of people protested in the streets in Jinshan, a Shanghai suburb.

They believe the government plans to build a chemical plant making paraxylene, or PX, a material used in polyester clothing and plastic bottles.

Jinshan's protests attracted thousands more people every day. They appeared to be tolerated by the authorities until they moved to heart of Shanghai, the city's financial centre.

Then, armed police swept in to shut down the demonstration. They arrested dozens of people on Saturday, hauling them away in three city buses.

In detention

"Those who yelled slogans were taken away," explained one person who participated in the protest. He would only give his surname, Zhang. "People were shouting things like 'Chemical refinery, stay out of Jinshan!'"

Dozens of protesters were hauled away in busses
Large demonstrations against the construction of PX plants have occurred all over China
Increasingly well educated and affluent citizens are rejecting the construction of chemical plants near their homes

Read full article Armed police move in against Chinese anti-plant protesters

Why is China's female prison population growing?

  • 25 June 2015
A woman inmate looks out of a ward at a detention centre 24 June 2005
China has one of the fastest rising women's prison population in the world.

Her long grey hair hanging down her back, Ding Yuxin wept in a Chinese courtroom last December. Following a one-day trial, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for bribing government officials.

When the verdict was announced, Ding wobbled on her feet and was steadied by security guards. Tears rolled down her face.

Ding Yuxin: Grey haired and weeping at trial

Read full article Why is China's female prison population growing?

Occupy gone sour? 'Bomb plot' in Hong Kong

  • 16 June 2015
Police escort suspect during reconstruction 16 June 2015
Officers escort a bomb suspect during a crime reconstruction this week

The last time the spectre of bombs exploding on the streets hung over Hong Kong, the city was still a British colony.

In 1967, a labour dispute escalated into protests led by Maoist groups that eventually resulted in 51 deaths and thousands injured.

Read full article Occupy gone sour? 'Bomb plot' in Hong Kong

China's teenage spin doctors

  • 15 June 2015
A Chinese Communist party cadre checks his mobile phone
Volunteers monitor websites and combat any anti-government feeling

A week ago, an unusual job advertisement popped up on a Chinese university website.

Mianyang University is recruiting volunteer internet commentators, the post explained.

Read full article China's teenage spin doctors

Chinese armpit hair competition triggers online debate

  • 8 June 2015
Women’s rights activist Li Tingting (June 2015)
Women’s rights activist Li Tingting has posted a photo online showing her pride in having armpit hair

"Should I shave my armpit hair?" It is a question that often bothers Xiao Meili, a prominent women's rights activist in China.

"Girls are often anxious about their armpit hair as if it's a sign of being dirty or uncivilized," Ms Xiao said. "But we should have the freedom to choose whether to accept what grows naturally on our bodies."

Read full article Chinese armpit hair competition triggers online debate

Yangtze sinking: Questions raised over Eastern Star

  • 3 June 2015
A relative of a missing passenger aboard a capsized ship cries on the banks of the Jianli section of Yangtze River in Hubei province, China, 3 June 2015.
Relatives have been asking how the ship sank so quickly, even as they anxiously wait for news

As with all disasters, the sinking of the Eastern Star raises many important questions.

How did the boat turn over so quickly that none of the 456 people on board was able to call for help or raise the alarm?

Read full article Yangtze sinking: Questions raised over Eastern Star

Gay woman challenges Hong Kong in landmark trial

  • 14 May 2015
The International Finance Centre towers over the southern Chinese city's Central district, illuminated during dusk in Hong Kong
Hong Kong: 'Asia's World City'?

Hong Kong bills itself as Asia's World City, a cutting-edge metropolis that effortlessly fuses the traditional and the modern.

But on the subject of rights for sexual minorities, gay rights activists say the city is firmly stuck in the past.

Read full article Gay woman challenges Hong Kong in landmark trial

The trouble with China's anti-corruption campaign

  • 5 May 2015
A man walks past portraits of the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong
Social media users point out that laws have been in place for decades - but not enforced

A ruling in Shanghai banning the husbands, wives and children of top officials from running businesses is meant, of course, to allay the deep public concern about official abuse of power.

But, as has so often been the case throughout China's much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign, the tougher the rhetoric grows the wider the ridicule becomes.

Read full article The trouble with China's anti-corruption campaign

China says no to amateur weathermen

  • 1 May 2015
A woman protects herself from the rain with an umbrella in Beijing on 26 September 2014.
State media say the new measures are needed to prevent public panic in the face of a major weather event

You may not be able to control the weather - but you can control the forecasts.

China's amateur meteorologists, or indeed anyone with an opinion on whether it might rain, now need to watch out.

Read full article China says no to amateur weathermen

When China woke up to Wham!

  • 9 April 2015
Young children sporting 'Mao' jackets and caps gape at George Michael (left) and Andrew Ridgeley, of the pop group Wham who are visiting the Great Wall as they promote the first-ever gig by a Western pop band in communist China, on 7 April 1985. (DO NOT REUSE IMAGE)
Wham!'s management spent 18 months trying to convince Chinese officials to let the duo play

Everyone who went to see Wham! perform in China in 1985 seems to remember the same details: the dazzling lights, the overwhelming wave of noise when the music began, and the outfits worn by the duo, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.

In 1985, China was just opening up to the outside world following the tumultuous Cultural Revolution.

Read full article When China woke up to Wham!