January 7, 2014
China’s Eerie, Faux-European Ghost Towns

Located near Beijing, the mock-Alpine village of “Spring Legend” has houses, restaurants, shops—and few people. 
Read more. [Image: Phoebe Strom]

China’s Eerie, Faux-European Ghost Towns

Located near Beijing, the mock-Alpine village of “Spring Legend” has houses, restaurants, shops—and few people. 

Read more. [Image: Phoebe Strom]

December 16, 2013
How Fixed-Gear Bikes Made Cycling Cool in China

Dozens of upscale bars, restaurants and boutiques line Wudaoying Hutong in Beijing’s Dongcheng neighborhood. Sometimes billed as the capital’s Brooklyn, the narrow alleyway features a nightly mix of hip young locals and foreign expatriates. With its hot pink sign featuring a winged banana logo, Natooke matched the neighborhood’s colorful aesthetic. But its business revolves around a product that, as recently as a few years ago, would have been unthinkable in China: fixed-gear bicycles. 
A neatly organized, wood-floored space, Natooke’s walls are mounted with racks of bike parts—everything from frames and wheels to hubs and handlebar grips—in a range of bold colors. Buyers, guided by the expertise of Ines Brunn, the shop’s founder, and her staff of young hipsters, select each element to create a custom-built, fixed-gear bike.
Shops like these are common in the big cities of North America and Europe, but Natooke was the first such business to arrive in China. Today, it’s the epicenter of the youth bike scene in Beijing, and its impact has been felt across the country.
Read more. [Image: Ines Brunn]

How Fixed-Gear Bikes Made Cycling Cool in China

Dozens of upscale bars, restaurants and boutiques line Wudaoying Hutong in Beijing’s Dongcheng neighborhood. Sometimes billed as the capital’s Brooklyn, the narrow alleyway features a nightly mix of hip young locals and foreign expatriates. With its hot pink sign featuring a winged banana logo, Natooke matched the neighborhood’s colorful aesthetic. But its business revolves around a product that, as recently as a few years ago, would have been unthinkable in China: fixed-gear bicycles. 

A neatly organized, wood-floored space, Natooke’s walls are mounted with racks of bike parts—everything from frames and wheels to hubs and handlebar grips—in a range of bold colors. Buyers, guided by the expertise of Ines Brunn, the shop’s founder, and her staff of young hipsters, select each element to create a custom-built, fixed-gear bike.

Shops like these are common in the big cities of North America and Europe, but Natooke was the first such business to arrive in China. Today, it’s the epicenter of the youth bike scene in Beijing, and its impact has been felt across the country.

Read more. [Image: Ines Brunn]

October 28, 2013
Why the Tienanmen Square Crash Is So Unnerving

China’s largest public urban space is more than just the site of the famous student protests 24 years ago. It’s also the symbol of the country—and the country’s power.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Why the Tienanmen Square Crash Is So Unnerving

China’s largest public urban space is more than just the site of the famous student protests 24 years ago. It’s also the symbol of the country—and the country’s power.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

October 15, 2013
Beijing’s Amusingly Phallic New Skyscraper

The new headquarters of the People’s Daily is only the latest example of Beijing’s unusual architecture.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Beijing’s Amusingly Phallic New Skyscraper

The new headquarters of the People’s Daily is only the latest example of Beijing’s unusual architecture.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

January 15, 2013

NASA Satellite Image Shows Beijing Drowning in a Lake of Smog

How bad is it? The U.S. considers air with miniscule particles above 100 micrograms per cubic meter as “unsafe.” This weekend, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing logged concentrations almost as high as 900 micrograms. As many as 33 cities had “hazardous” air during the weekend, according to Chinese media, leading to crushes of people seeking medical help for breathing problems and a booming market for face masks.

Chinese officials’ response to the air-pollution crisis has been quick and decisive. Stay indoors! they say. Dozens of construction sites have shut down to help diminish the foul cloud. So far, the situation has not approached the direness of the weather-related smogmageddon of October 2010. An ocean of cottony air reduced visibility to as little as 330 feet in places, leading to a rash of traffic accidents that wound up killing at least 32 people.

Read more. [Images: Jason Lee, Reuters]

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