Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

If an alien intelligence were monitoring news on Earth, they would probably assume China was eating America’s lunch.

It makes sense. America has seen easier times.

The global order the United States established is in crisis, America’s uncoordinated response to coronavirus eroded the credibility of its ossified institutions, and the resurgence of nationalist politics on the right and emergence of culture wars on the left suggests a nation almost splitting apart.

No wonder pundits often question whether the Chinese model is a better one than that of liberal democracy. Such talk is not unfounded. China turned the pandemic into a…


Photo by Shot by Cerqueira on Unsplash

A charitable person told me a few days ago that “your 30s will be your best years yet”, citing financial security, stability, health, and wellness as just a few of the perks of being marginally closer to death, qualities befitting the world’s most livable cities.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m told that I’ll soon become the Zurich or Calgary or Copenhagen of humans. The only problem is I don’t need nor want to be Copenhagen, with its clean air, low crime rates, mature infrastructure, and competent governance. I’d much prefer a city messy, edgy, and high-octane. I’d much rather be Berlin…


This Is Us

The dog that saved me, the dog I couldn’t save

Vintage photograph of a German shepherd dog.
Vintage photograph of a German shepherd dog.
Photo: Jena Ardell/Getty Images

When I was five, a kid from my neighborhood was bitten by a street dog, infected with rabies, and spent a month paralyzed in bed before he drowned from his saliva. His doting parents, who continued to share his meals despite his illness, contracted rabies through infected body fluids. They died a few weeks later, leaving his grandparents penniless, ostracized, and heartbroken.

At least, that’s how the well-rehearsed story goes. Rabies has the highest mortality rate — 99.9% — of any known disease. In the decade before my birth, almost 60,000 people died from rabies in China, nearly all from…


Illustration: Ashley Floréal

An interview in Hong Kong lingers with me until this day, six months after he was sentenced to prison

This essay contains a description of sexual assault.

I met Harvey Weinstein in 2014. I was reporting on politics for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong when a friend of a friend asked me to translate during his dinner meeting. At the restaurant, Harvey introduced himself with brio. He was charming and tenacious and said he was in town working on several important projects. He wanted to talk to the press. We agreed to an interview, and his assistant took my information.

A few days later at the Mandarin Oriental, his assistant arrived 30 minutes late and informed…


This Is Us

Notes on watching my grandmother love, age, and embrace cheap music

A photo of the author as a child with her grandmother.
A photo of the author as a child with her grandmother.
Photo courtesy of the author.

My grandmother died on May 6, 2020, at 8:49 a.m. I don’t remember what I was doing when I got the call — only thinking that, since I was in California (a whopping 15 hours behind Beijing), in my time zone, she was most certainly still alive.

We don’t know if she had Covid, as she was isolated for months even before the outbreak, but she did exhibit an alarming number of symptoms: fever, chills, and shortness of breath, which ultimately took her life.

I found myself fumbling for a pen and frantically jotting down notes as my uncle shared…


Notes on Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong Protestor: We are the last beacon of democracy in a corner of the world where an authoritarian, totalitarian regime called China’s influence is precipitously expanding. The Sino-British joint-declaration, which set out the terms of our homecoming to our imperial overlords guaranteed basic law, free speech, a free press, and an unfettered judicial system, but such freedoms are rapidly diminishing — our chief executive was not chosen by direct election, but rather, from a committee of pro-mainland sycophants; Beijing has managed to arrest our publishers, expel our journalists, and disqualify our lawmakers. Carrie Lam…


For those interested in facial slimming, acne improvement, scar diminishment, facial hair removal, inflammation reduction, sun damage reduction, skin sculpting, blood circulation promotion, this all-in-one procedure offers a minimally invasive miracle. The practice dates as far back as 600 BC, but has gained significant traction in recent years thanks to new technology — and YouTube and Instagram, where the mesmerizing (albeit slightly bloody) process stars in thousands of videos. Here, dermatologist Mona Mengele, MD, PHD, who has published extensive research on subcuticular peels, along with fellow Yale clinical professor Harriett Faye Shipman, MD, demystify this multi-purpose treatment.

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