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.
Culture
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
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
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
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
Beijing Independent Film Festival derailed by authorities

Beijing Independent Film Festival derailed by authorities

The Beijing Independent Film Festival has a long history of absurd run-ins with the Chinese authorities, but this year’s edition opened in such a Kafka-esque manner it could have been penned by an indie scriptwriter. It began in mid-August with festival director Wang Hongwei announcing
Bringing art to the middle class in China

Bringing art to the middle class in China

As the world’s top collectors, gallerists and dealers converged in Hong Kong a week ago for Art Basel, the city’s inaugural edition of one of the world’s premier art shows, a very different kind of art venture was launching in the mainland: an online platform for buying affordable
Mongolia’s hip-hop beat

Mongolia’s hip-hop beat

Mongolia’s hip-hop scene caught Benj Binks off guard. The young Australian expected the descendants of Genghis Khan to be mostly nomads and herders, cantering over wild, bleak plains. Instead, when he arrived in the capital of Ulaanbaatar in 2004 he found nightclubs, graffiti and guys
China's indie filmmakers: The way of the dragon seal

China’s indie filmmakers: The way of the dragon seal

BEIJING — Yang Jin shot his first film, “The Black and White Milk Cow,” in his hometown in 2004 for $1,600. He asked villagers to be his actors, paying them only in cigarettes, and his main expense was $320 spent renting the titular cow. The
Interview: Ang Lee

Interview: Ang Lee

‘There are some unwritten rules in the film industry,’ says Ang Lee , the Oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain, discussing the difficulties of making his latest film. ‘Don’t work with kids, don’t work with animals, and don’t work with water. This film includes all three
Interview: Expendables 2 actress Yu Nan

Interview: Expendables 2 actress Yu Nan

It’s no surprise that the team behind The Expendables 2 should want to bring a Chinese actress onboard. The first instalment of The Expendables – the testosterone-fuelled fight-fest that saw Sylvester Stallone and his merry band of action men, including Jason Statham, Bruce Willis and Jet Li, trotting round