China

Secrets of the Silk Road

The discovery of a cave full of manuscripts on the edge of the Gobi Desert reveals the details of everyday life on the Silk Road.

Opium for the Masses

In Republican China, amid the chaos of dynastic collapse and war, opium became a rare stable currency, yielding huge riches for those who knew how to work the system.

Hong Kong and the Huguenots

The city’s ‘one country, two systems’ policy was boldly pragmatic, but it was not the first time such an idea has been tried. 

When the World Came to Shanghai

In the 1930s several prominent Black intellectuals visited Shanghai, bringing politics, culture and anti-colonial fervour with them. 

The Search for Immortality

The elixir of life, a mythical substance from ancient Chinese literature, underpins an enormous industry in modern China. 

In Pursuit of Pith

Flowers formed from pith paper captured the imagination of British society in the 19th century, sparking a search for the elusive ‘rice paper’ plant.

Between China and a Hard Place

Mao Zedong once said that Taiwan should be independent, but the Chinese Communist Party has since changed its mind. How Chinese is Taiwan?

The Invention of Chinese

Believing language would unify their struggling nation, Chinese officials began a project to create a national language and define what it meant to speak Chinese.