Searching for truth in China's Uighur 're-education' camps

  • 21 June 2019
A man playing an instrument inside the camp
Image caption China says those inside the camps are now on the road to reform

The Chinese region of Xinjiang is home to millions of ethnic Muslim Uighurs who have lived there for decades. Rights groups say hundreds of thousands have been detained in camps without trial, but China argues they voluntarily attend centres which combat "extremism". The BBC went inside one of them.

I'd been to the camps before.

But the closest I'd managed to get on previous visits were snatched glimpses of the barbed wire and watchtowers from a passing car, while the plainclothes police officers tailing us tried to stop us getting any closer.

Now I was being invited inside.

The risks of accepting were obvious. We were being taken into places that appeared to have been carefully spruced up - with satellite images revealing that much of the security infrastructure had recently been removed.

Read full article Searching for truth in China's Uighur 're-education' camps

China social media: WeChat and the Surveillance State

  • 7 June 2019
WeChat notification

China's WeChat is a site for social interaction, a form of currency, a dating app, a tool for sporting teams and deliverer of news: Twitter, Facebook, Googlemaps, Tinder and Apple Pay all rolled into one. But it is also an ever more powerful weapon of social control for the Chinese government.

I've just been locked out of WeChat (or Weixin 微信 as it is known in Chinese) and, to get back on, have had to pass through some pretty Orwellian steps - steps which have led others to question why I went along with it.

Read full article China social media: WeChat and the Surveillance State

Tiananmen 30 years on - China's great act of 'forgettance'

  • 1 June 2019
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Media captionTiananmen's tank man: The image that China forgot

There are no official acts of remembrance for the events of 1989 in Beijing. But that statement, although factually correct, is far too neutral.

In truth, what happened in Tiananmen Square is marked faithfully each year by a massive, national act of what might more properly be called "forgettance".

Read full article Tiananmen 30 years on - China's great act of 'forgettance'

Xi Jinping: Digital 'little red book' tops App Store in China

  • 15 February 2019
China's President Xi Jinping applauds during a celebration meeting Image copyright Getty Images

China's most popular app over the last few days has been one that's red in face and at heart.

With a scarlet logo reading "study" in Chinese, or "study Xi" as an ingenious pun, the app aims at shaping the nation's minds under Xi Jinping's presidency.

Read full article Xi Jinping: Digital 'little red book' tops App Store in China

Huawei confident in uncomfortable times

  • 25 January 2019
A hostess waits as journalists arrive for a press conference and launch of new 5G Huawei products at the Huawei Beijing Executive Briefing Centre Image copyright AFP
Image caption The company launched its 5G network technology at a special event in Beijing

Huawei has a public relations problem - to put it mildly.

Last week, Oxford University said it had decided to decline new research grants from the giant Chinese telecoms company.

Read full article Huawei confident in uncomfortable times

Peppa Pig: China falls for an unlikely UK brand ambassador

  • 22 January 2019
Undated handout photo supplied by Peppa Pig World of a poster for Peppa Pig celebrating Chinese New Year Image copyright PA

She's unlikely to feature on many lists of the all-time top British cultural icons.

But Peppa Pig - the UK-made children's cartoon character - is right up there with the best of them, at least in China.

Read full article Peppa Pig: China falls for an unlikely UK brand ambassador

Zhao Ziyang: A reformer China's Communist Party wants to forget

  • 17 January 2019
Picture dated 17 October 1980 in Beijing of Zhao Ziyang, Image copyright Getty Images

In a small, central Beijing courtyard, family and friends are gathering to pay tribute to Zhao Ziyang - the most powerful man in China to oppose the decision to send tanks into Tiananmen Square nearly 30 years ago.

He was subsequently erased from Chinese history for what party officials deemed his "serious mistakes" that day.

Read full article Zhao Ziyang: A reformer China's Communist Party wants to forget

Xi Jinping game show: How well do you know China's leader?

  • 4 October 2018
Xi Jinping game show Image copyright Hunan TV

It's dinnertime in China, the evening news has just aired, and primetime TV-watchers are settling down for the real entertainment of the night.

"Let's listen to President Xi's speeches and comprehend his thought," enthusiastically declares the host of a game show called, yes, "Studying Xi in the New Era".

Read full article Xi Jinping game show: How well do you know China's leader?

Movie madness: Why Chinese cinemas are empty but full

  • 31 August 2018
A newly installed cinema seating at Beijing's Daguanlou movie theatre Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chinese movie theatres may appear to be sold out online, but in reality could be completely empty

For a country which will soon assume the mantle of the world's largest cinema audience, China comes out with a surprising number of big budget B-grade flops.

Some blame this on censorship, others on a lack of creativity but there are also those who see a more sinister force at work, which has nothing to do with film-making.

Read full article Movie madness: Why Chinese cinemas are empty but full

Beijing Olympics 2008: A hope lost or fulfilled?

  • 8 August 2018
Fireworks light up the sky as paramilitary policemen stand guard outside the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Bird's Nest stadium where the Olympics were held is one of Beijing's most famous buildings

Ten years ago this week, the Beijing Olympic Games drummed themselves onto television screens across the globe.

It brought waves of hype in China that the country was preparing to celebrate not only a festival of sport but the return of the "Middle Kingdom" to the centre of the universe.

Read full article Beijing Olympics 2008: A hope lost or fulfilled?