CHINESE CHARACTERS

How a Character That Once Referred to Barbarians Now Represents Civility

Learn how the character 文 went from being a term for the uncivilized in ancient China to referring to literature, refinement, and culture in the modern day

MODERN HISTORY

Two-Way Communication: How China Adopted Japanese Terms to Discuss Modernity

In the early 20th century, debate raged in China over whether to accept a deluge of Japanese loanwords

HISTORY

Crowning Glory: China’s Floral Headdress Tradition

From the women of Xunpu to ancient emperors, the floral hairpin has been a cherished tradition among both men and women for centuries, serving as decorative ornaments and symbols of authority

ANCIENT HISTORY

Ancient Snitches: How China’s Emperors Encouraged Informants

From Wu Zetian to Emperor Yongzheng, China’s imperial rulers were obsessed with people conspiring against the throne and came up with various systems to encourage informers

FEMINISM

Tang Qunying: One of China’s Earliest Feminists

She led an army of women against Qing forces, fought her whole life for women’s rights, and even slapped the country’s top leaders for failing to commit to gender equality—meet Tang Qunying

ANCIENT HISTORY

A Trip in Time: How Did People Travel in Ancient China?

​Historian Duan Zhiqian explores road dangers and the emergent travel industry in China’s Ming and Qing eras

HISTORY

China’s Long Road to Abolishing Slavery

Legal, social, and cultural barriers to ending China’s forced labor tradition

MODERN HISTORY

Remembering the Deadliest Bridge on the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway

A spectacular 115-year-old railway bridge in Yunnan province stands as a reminder of the Chinese workers who died in its construction

ANCIENT HISTORY

How China’s Imperial Treasures Became a Public Exhibit

Arson, thieving eunuchs, military invasion: the Forbidden City’s journey from imperial palace to public museum was anything but smooth

EDUCATION

The Biggest Teacher’s Pets in Chinese History

Four stories of ancient Chinese pupils who went to great lengths to honor their teachers