Author Archives: Jason Li

How the Umbrella ‘Revolution’ meme hurt the movement in Hong Kong

  The ongoing protests for democracy in Hong Kong have been dubbed by many as the “Umbrella Revolution.” But days before the term was created, the dominant internet meme supporting the protests was built around student selfies accompanied by hashtags #HKClassBoycott and #HKStudentStrike. This was in line with what was then a students-only protest. Supporters […]

Kendra Schaefer’s Field Guide to Implementing Chinese Fonts in CSS

Beijing-based designer Kendra Schaefer has created an incredibly valuable resource in writing up: Chinese Standard Web Fonts: A Guide to CSS Font Family Declarations for Web Design in Simplified Chinese. While you’d best head to Kendra’s site for the full details, we’ve included some highlights below: Good Rules for Using Chinese fonts in CSS Use […]

Xiaomi’s vaguely familiar design and a Chinese bitcoin mine

In case you’re not following consultant-turned-VC Benedict Evans‘ newsletter on mobile technology (which is excellent and highly recommended), here are the China-related gems from this week: Xiaomi unveiled the latest version of its custom flavor of Android. Lot of interesting and innovative features in there. The design language, though, looks… vaguely familiar. Link Apple is […]

Anti-shanzhai memes, copycat gamemakers and Korean popstars

This month, South Korean boy band sensation Big Bang arrives in Hong Kong as the newly-minted spokesperson for the local smartphone game, Tower of Saviors (pictured above… on the right). The city is abuzz with the news as Big Bang is extremely popular in Hong Kong and as advertisements are being plastered all over our […]

IBM teams up with the Beijing government to tackle its pollution problem

From a Quartz article by Gwynn Guilford: IBM plans to improve the quality of data by installing its latest generation of optical sensors, incorporating meteorological satellite data and running that through its artificial-intelligence computing system (a.k.a. Watson, that computer that trounced humans on Jeopardy). The visual maps it generates will identify the source and dispersal […]

The future of Chinese language learning

Victor Mair has some compelling thoughts on the Language Log on the future of Chinese language learning, and how we might soon be rid of brute force “rote memorization (sǐbèi/jì 死背/記 [lit., "deadly memorization"]).” When I began learning Mandarin nearly half a century ago, I knew exactly how I wanted to acquire proficiency in the […]

Shanzhai Meets Open Source

From Hacked Matter’s feature in the Atlantic: Take, World Peace Industrial (WPI), a Taiwanese electronic sourcing company located in Shenzhen, as an example. The company’s application technology unit (ATU) spends millions annually to develop reference circuit boards, called gongban 公板 (“public board”). A gongban can be used by a variety of different companies, who either incorporate it in their […]

Art Basel Hong Kong: What I Saw

Art Basel Hong Kong ran from May 15-18. Here’s an absolutely subjective take on what I saw when I visited. Apologies for those works I’m unable to credit; it was a hectic Sunday and I didn’t have the time to note down the artist and gallery for every piece that I photographed. First, the fun […]

Coming of age in a culture of information paternalism in China

Editor’s note: this is a summary of some of the ideas that are presented in Tricia’s recent talk the Berkman Center, Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media. The video of the full talk is now online, and we highly recommend watching it in its entirety. Tricia’s research discusses how Chinese youth are experiencing […]

A sneak peek from China’s new animation-house upstart

From its Youtube page: “Little Yeyos” is the first short film from Light Chaser Animation, a startup animation studio based in Beijing. Light Chaser was founded in 2013 by Gary Wang, the founder and ex-CEO of, China’s leading video sharing website. Its goal is to produce top quality animated films. Via @c10n.