China Policy Institute: Analysis


Culture and Media

Who Owns Culture? The case of P.F. Chang’s

Written by Haiming Liu.

In 1993, restaurateur Paul Fleming made a visionary decision. He sold his Ruth’s Chris Steak House and opened his first P.F. Chang’s China Bistro in the Fashion Square shopping center in Scottsdale, Arizona with Philip Chiang as his partner. ‘P.F.’ stood for Paul Fleming and ‘Chang’ for Chiang. Continue reading “Who Owns Culture? The case of P.F. Chang’s”

Tony Leung: Hong Kong Talent in China’s Film Industry

Written by Mark Gallagher.

Since the early 1980s, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai has been one of Hong Kong’s most prolific talents. While Leung’s acting output slowed in the 2000s, his work on collaborative productions, particularly in mainland China, offers insights into Chinese film-industry practices and suggests strategies successful film workers have used to navigate that fast-growing industry. Continue reading “Tony Leung: Hong Kong Talent in China’s Film Industry”

The Cultural functioning of Chinese architectural ‘knock-off’ practices

Written by Chris Brisbin.

Copying is nothing new in China, nor in the West. From computer games, clothes, to technology, China has been widely derided as the ‘knock-off’ nation. More recently, this reproduction culture has broadened to include the architecture of western icons of modernity. The copying of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Wangjing SOHO in Beijing by Meiquan Properties Ltd, the alleged ‘developer pirates’ responsible for the Meiquan 22nd Century Building in Chongqing, is perhaps the most contentious contemporary example of architectural copying to date. Most alarmingly, the construction of the copy was due to be completed in Chongqing before the construction of Hadid’s Wangjing original in Beijing (2014). The similarities are striking between the buildings. However, it is my contention that there is much more to this particular case, and the widespread cultural practice of copying in China, than reductive ideological questions of copyright to explain ‘knock-off’ culture. Continue reading “The Cultural functioning of Chinese architectural ‘knock-off’ practices”

Taiwan’s media: More reforms needed

Written by Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley.

The media are central in a modern, functioning democracy, facilitating dialogue, flows of political information, accountability, transparency and popular participation. Studies of the media system in Taiwan help us grasp the pace and scale of the social, cultural and political developments and gives us an insight into the changes and continuity in Taiwan’s position in relation to China and the rest of the world in the processes of globalisation and regionalisation. Continue reading “Taiwan’s media: More reforms needed”

Johnnie To, Hong Kong cinema and the mainland

Written by Yiu-wai Chu.

Billed as the film to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong production company Milkyway Image, action film Three (2016) marks the return of director Johnnie To to his signature gangster movie after Drug War (2013), the first gangster film he shot entirely in Mainland China. The famous director and the company he co-founded in 1996 are walking a fine line between Mainland China and Hong Kong: For staunch supporters of To and Milkyway Image, his unexpected interim project, the stage-to-screen musical Office (2015), had just been another Mainland movie in order to “walk with two legs”: using commercial films such as rom-com Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (2011) to support the production company’s unique brand of “action thriller meets art-house cinema.” Two years earlier, his 50th film Drug War had seen mixed reviews in Hong Kong. I have argued elsewhere that this was due “the untranslatability of Milkyway-cum-Hong Kong flavour that distinguished To from other Hong Kong directors, who were assimilated into the Mainland market as a simple mélange.” Straddling their home turf and the highly profitable Mainland market, To and Milkyway Image may be emblematic of challenges faced by Hong Kong cinema more widely – and of ways to tackle them. Continue reading “Johnnie To, Hong Kong cinema and the mainland”

Recent Trends in the Distribution and Exhibition of Chinese Language Films in the UK Cinema Market

Written by Fraser Elliott and Andy Willis.

Until recently, the distribution and exhibition of Chinese language films in the UK had followed a familiar pattern for a number of decades: Like most subtitled foreign language cinema, they were bought by distribution companies specialising in arthouse fare, who would subsequently release them onto the specialised and independent cinema circuit. Here, they would vie with films from established arthouse providers in Europe, such as France and Italy, as well as other countries, such as Japan, who have traditionally found favour with cineastes. In this sector, each film released struggles to find their share of the small UK audience that appreciates global cinema. Continue reading “Recent Trends in the Distribution and Exhibition of Chinese Language Films in the UK Cinema Market”

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