Gabrielle Jaffe is a freelance journalist who is currently based in China, covering travel, culture and current affairs for publications including The Atlantic, The Times, and Los Angeles Times.
Author Archive
In search of the Manchus

In search of the Manchus

Palms pressed flat together above his forehead, knees bent over a yellow silk-covered block, Hong Haibo offers an inaudible prayer to his forebears. This genuflecting gesture of ancestor worship is reproduced daily throughout East Asia, but Hong’s are no ordinary ancestors. They are the Manchu
Off-road in scenic Fujian

Off-road in scenic Fujian

The sweat, the strain, the huffing and puffing – it had all been worth it for this. After a long morning of biking, the 20-minute uphill climb had nearly beaten me. Much of the time the slope was so steep that I decelerated to a
Beijing's Green Army

Beijing’s Green Army

This is Premier League soccer, just not quite as I know it. Nike. Carlsberg. Samsung. Familiar sponsors flash past on electronic billboards. At the same time, red-letter propaganda banners line the pitch, proclaiming: “The Chinese Dream. You, I, Gather Together. You, I, Advance Together.” Apart
China's graffiti artists

China’s graffiti artists

Some thirty years have passed since the award-winning film “Style Wars” was released, bringing to the world’s attention the little-understood graffiti culture of 1980s New York. Now a new documentary hopes to shed light on the even lesser-known world of China’s graffiti artists. “Spray Paint
Diamante Porsches? Lime Lamborghinis? China's crazy customized cars

Diamante Porsches? Lime Lamborghinis? China’s crazy customized cars

Beijing might be famous for being the city of nine million bicycles, but in the Chinese capital, cars are now king. A world-record breaking 20 million automobiles were sold across the country last year, making China the world’s largest car market. With 200 new models
Marriage in China: Guilt tripped

Marriage in China: Guilt tripped

A controversial advertisement featuring a young woman guilted into marriage by her dying grandmother has been forced off air in China. Broadcast across several television stations and online platforms in the run up to Valentine’s Day, the commercial shows an elderly woman incessantly asking her
In China, novel ways to fake ancient goods

In China, novel ways to fake ancient goods

  Strolling through Beijing’s Panjiayuan Market, it’s easy to imagine you’ve entered an antique treasure trove. Hawkers here sell blue and white porcelain, jade trinkets and Cultural Revolution-era memorabilia. If the prices seem too good to be true, that’s because they are. In the past, it
Mao hailed as a hero at home but not in Beijing

Mao hailed as a hero at home but not in Beijing

Official celebrations of Mao Zedong’s 120th birthday in Beijing yesterday were decidedly low key — but hardliners who had gathered in his home town ensured that the date was fêted with appropriate fanfare. President Xi and the six other leaders who make up the Chinese
Cross-border Chinese smugglers’ tunnel unearthed by police

Cross-border Chinese smugglers’ tunnel unearthed by police

An underground smugglers’ tunnel equipped with lights and a rail track to transport goods from mainland China to Hong Kong has been uncovered by Chinese police. The entrance to the 40-metre underground passage was discovered by border police under a garage in Changling, a small
Shanghai scenes

Shanghai scenes

Performing The Vagina Monologues in China

Performing The Vagina Monologues in China

“When I first heard about The Vagina Monologues, I was shocked. I thought, how could someone give a play a name like that?” says Xiao Hang. That was five years ago, when Xiao Hang was, by her own admission, “mainstream and quite conservative.” But after volunteering for
China re-embraces Confucius

China re-embraces Confucius

QUFU, CHINA—Confucius is quoted as saying, “How delightful it is to have friends come from afar.” But what would the sage have made of the hordes of tourists now descending on his hometown? Visitors to Qufu—the Shandong town where Confucius grew up over 2,500 years