Photo Credit:
What did you like to read this year?

The numbers don’t lie: Though this year TWOC covered a plurality of hot topics from celebrity impersonators to nightclub racism, migrant travails to beach vacations, rental scams to Peppa Pig, tax scandals to viral stores…family matters and millennial culture seemed to have struck a special chord with our readers. Find these and your other favorite reads of the year in the list below.

Missing your personal Top 20? You’ve got a few hour left to drive up their clicks…

20. Too Hot to WorkIn a viral video, a panhandler explains why she is on the street

19. Sad Sangs丧 (sàng), a Chinese character associated with funerals, has become the label for a subculture of disenchanted and unmotivated millennials

18. Bean ScenesFor young Chinese who haven’t abandoned all hope, though, cafes are becoming social hubs for those struggling with overwork and a lack of living space in the city, as this cozy photo story shows

17. Forty Years of Family PlanningIn 2014, the one-child policy was “relaxed,” though the long-term consequences of the notorious rule are still being debated. Photos of family planning slogans from Chinese villages show changes in the state’s family planning rhetoric through these 40 years

16. No Baby, No CryWhile we’re still on the topic of family planning, delve in to the world of “DINKs” (Double Income, No Kids), couples that eschew tradition and adopt child-free lifestyles

15. Court ConfidentialSocial credit and “big data” were buzzwords in China this year, but as early as the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644), emperors had already been secretly mining data to make the country run as efficiently as possible

14. The Noughty Nineties: The Gay ActivistPart of our cover story on China’s newest youths to come of age, this story profiles a lesbian activist as she (and others) discusses what it’s like to grow up and come out as part of the “post-90s” generation

13. Ghosts of GuanlanA centuries-old Hakka village near Shenzhen is gradually being abandoned, but its watchtowers and walled courtyards still attract adventure-seekers to explore its unique history

12. Appy FeetChina’s estimated 100 million “square-dancing dama” are not just a controversial subculture, but a potential gold mine for tech entrepreneurs wanting to promote square-dance apps and brands…if they can convince these penny-pinching seniors to spend

11. The UnforbiddenOffering VR technology, trendy souvenirs, and online ticket sales, the 600-year-old Forbidden City is trying to become an attraction of the modern age; however, bureaucratic red tape means that only 75 percent of the palace has been opened to visitors

10. Chinese Movie Translations: Spring 2018Translations are a never-ending source of amusement (as are back-translations). Continuing our tradition from Fall and Winter 2017, TWOC rates cinematic titles like Dream Travelogue, Mysterious Town Murder, and Bull Adventure (can you guess their actual titles in English?)

9. The Art of FlowersAuthor Sun Ke demonstrates the almost forgotten tradition of Chinese flower arrangement

A Brief History of Chinese Flower Arrangement, by Su Ke and Lixiang

8. Six Stereotypes by CountryPrejudice isn’t only regional: TWOC looks at how Americans, Canadians, Italians, Russians, Japanese, and South Koreans are commonly perceived in China

7. New Variety Shows of Spring 2018New year, new shows: Which were your favorites?

6. How is autism treated in China?More than just medical treatment for autism in China, this post shows the difficulties the autism sufferers and their families face, including financial hurdles, diagnosis difficulties, and education about the condition (and lack thereof)

5. Viral Week Ep. 147Was it the CFA tattoo ban, Cao Cao’s tomb, pushy kid, or bitter ex with bitcoin that was responsible for the popularity of this March installment?

4. Con CountryTWOC reviews the English translation of The Book of Swindles, a Ming-era collection of well-known cons and scams proving that nothing has changed in 500 years

3. The Noughty NinetiesThe oldest of China’s “post-90s” (jiulinghou 九零后) generation was born before the country had internet, while the youngest became legal adults this year. Through a mix of personal stories and infographics, TWOC delves into cultural and social anxieties of China’s newest parents, bureaucrats, migrant workers, and activists in an uncertain era

2. Hair RazingThe second wife of the Qing dynasty’s Qianlong Emperor had a busy summer, with a key role in two TV series. Both offer solutions to an enduring mystery: Why did this rebellious empress cut her hair? And was she a rare feminist figure in imperial history?

1. The ‘Ex’ FactorChinese cinema-goers have spoken: Exes are more interesting than lightsabers. TWOC reviews low-budget sequel that beat out The Last Jedi at the January box office, and tries to explain its escapist appeal


author William Tanza

William Tanza is TWOC's web manager. He interested in technology and finance. He's not much of a writer, but thanks to the TWOC editors, his pieces made it here.

Related Articles