Hip-hop takes centre stage in China for the first time

  • 13 September 2017
Poster for Rap of China Image copyright iQIYI

A hugely successful internet reality show has put hip-hop music into the national spotlight for the first time in China.

With more than 2.5 billion views on China's largest online video hosting website, iQiyi, the Rap of China has seen dozens of Chinese rappers shoot to stardom.

Showcasing young and feisty contestants locked in rap battle in front of a panel of celebrity judges, the show sparked debate, memes and catchphrases across the Chinese-speaking web.

"Can you freestyle?" became a buzzword, after one of the celebrity judges, Kris Wu, used it to repeatedly grill contestants as he was questioned over his own hip hop legitimacy. Hip hop terms like "diss" - to put someone down - have crept into everyday conversation.

Tapping a gold mine

The 12-episode show, which wrapped up last weekend, was hugely successful in bringing underground rappers such as HipHopMan, Tizzy T, PG One, Jony J, or VAVA to public attention.

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Media captionIs the world ready for Chinese hip hop?

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N Korea nuclear crisis: China border town unruffled

  • 6 September 2017
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Media captionThe China–North Korea Friendship Bridge is an important trade link between the countries

Dandong is a good place to ponder China's role in the North Korean nuclear crisis. First off, no-one's that bothered.

In a city of more than 800,000 people, living almost within touching distance of North Korea, Sunday's underground test - as well as the claims that it was a thermonuclear detonation - have raised barely a murmur.

Read full article N Korea nuclear crisis: China border town unruffled

David Tang: Tributes to Hong Kong's 'serious playboy'

  • 31 August 2017
David Tang Image copyright AFP

Tributes are pouring in for Hong Kong businessman and socialite David Tang, who has passed away in the UK at age 63.

Elegant, incisive and funny, David Tang has been a frequent contributor to the BBC over decades.

Read full article David Tang: Tributes to Hong Kong's 'serious playboy'

What's yours is mine in China but is sharing at a peak?

  • 30 August 2017
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Media captionFrom footballs to gym pods, what China's economy lets you share

Ok, so car sharing makes perfect sense. And we get bike sharing, too. But ball sharing?

At a sports complex in Beijing, Wang Hui En scans a code on a locker with his smartphone.

Read full article What's yours is mine in China but is sharing at a peak?

The crowdfunded news agency risking all for Hong Kong scoops

  • 19 August 2017
This handout photo from The Initium taken and released on 15 August 2017 shows Democratic Party member Howard Lam (C, blue shirt) after his arrest for "misleading police" in Hong Kong. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Factwire scored one of its biggest scoops this week with the Howard Lam (centre) case

When journalists working for Hong Kong's fledgling Factwire news agency hit the streets of Mong Kok last week, they were looking for evidence to support a shocking story of abduction and torture.

Just hours before, Howard Lam, a veteran activist and a familiar presence at countless pro-democracy demonstrations, told how he was kidnapped and beaten by suspected agents of mainland China.

Read full article The crowdfunded news agency risking all for Hong Kong scoops

China's 'Super Vulgar Butcher' Wu Gan goes on trial

  • 14 August 2017
Picture of Chinese blogger Wu Gan, also known by his pseudonym Super Vulgar Butcher Image copyright You Jingyou
Image caption Wu Gan's protests were often designed to shame and humiliate

The "Super Vulgar Butcher" might seem an unlikely name for a man who has spent his time fighting for human rights.

But it is an apt one.

Read full article China's 'Super Vulgar Butcher' Wu Gan goes on trial

Hong Kong activist 'abducted by Chinese agents'

  • 11 August 2017
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Howard Lam (L), who claims he was abducted, blindfolded and beaten by mainland China agents, shows his stapled thighs and injuries to the media in Hong Kong on 11 August 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Howard Lam says he was warned against trying to engage with Liu Xia

A veteran democracy activist in Hong Kong says he was kidnapped, beaten and tortured by agents of mainland China after trying to get in touch with Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

The activist, Howard Lam, said on his Facebook page in late July that he had obtained a signed photo of the Barcelona football player Lionel Messi, and that he intended to send it to Ms Liu as a condolence gift.

Read full article Hong Kong activist 'abducted by Chinese agents'

China's VPN developers face crackdown

  • 10 August 2017
Apple store in China Image copyright EPA

China recently launched a crackdown on the use of software which allows users to get around its heavy internet censorship. And now app developers are finding themselves under growing pressure.

The three plain-clothes policemen tracked him down using a web address. They came to his house and demanded to see his computer. They told him to take down the app he was selling on Apple's App Store, and filmed it as it was happening.

Read full article China's VPN developers face crackdown

Wolf Warrior 2: The nationalist action film storming China

  • 4 August 2017
Official promotional image for Chinese film Wolf Warrior 2 Image copyright Wolf Warrior 2
Image caption The movie, directed by and starring action film star Wu Jing, has a decidedly patriotic tone

"Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far the target is."

That is the tagline for Wolf Warriors 2, the Chinese box office hit that is equal parts testosterone-fuelled machismo - think blazing guns, explosions, and tanks - and chest-thumping Chinese patriotism.

Read full article Wolf Warrior 2: The nationalist action film storming China

Why China censors banned Winnie the Pooh

  • 17 July 2017
Composite picture of Xi Jinping, Barack Obama and Winnie the Pooh characters Image copyright AFP/Weibo
Image caption This meme showing Xi Jinping and former US President Barack Obama began circulating in 2013

The blocking of Winnie the Pooh might seem like a bizarre move by the Chinese authorities but it is part of a struggle to restrict clever bloggers from getting around their country's censorship.

When is a set of wrist watches not just a set of wrist watches? When is a river crab not just a river crab? Inside the Great Firewall of China of course.

Read full article Why China censors banned Winnie the Pooh