Cindy Yu

Cindy Yu

Cindy Yu is an assistant editor of The Spectator and presenter of our Chinese Whispers podcast. She was brought up in Nanjing. She tweets at @CindyXiaodanYu

Why the Tories can’t count on the Hong Kong vote

On a high street in suburban London, a curious message appeared recently. Written on a stand-up whiteboard in traditional Chinese, it read: ‘Thank you to Chris Patten, who fought for British residency for Hong Kongers. 4 July – please vote Conservative’. In the last few years, the leafy commuter town of Sutton, to the south

China will struggle to resist Biden’s trade war

Attending a business summit in Shanghai earlier this year, I was struck by how downbeat the mood was. China’s stagnant economy, in particular the slow-motion meltdown of the property market, had clipped investor confidence across a number of industries. One Italian businessman told me the event had many fewer international attendees than previous years. But

Be more tiger mum!

‘What’s it to do with me if your boyfriend wants to break up with you? Or if you cried, or had a fight, these are not things that I as a supervisor care about. I’m not your mother. All I care about is results. Our relationship is just employee-employer.’ In a series of videos posted

What Xi wants in Europe

On a quiet street in Belgrade, a bronze statue of Confucius stands in front of a perforated white block, the new Chinese Cultural Centre. This is on the former site of the Chinese embassy which in 1999 was bombed by US-led Nato forces during the Kosovo war. Three Chinese nationals were killed. The Americans said

The problem with Netflix’s Three-Body Problem

How many modern Chinese books, TV shows or films do you count among your favourites? Perhaps Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes to mind, or maybe Crazy Rich Asians, or Jung Chang’s Wild Swans. If you don’t have many more beyond that, I don’t blame you. For many reasons (not least the Chinese Communist party’s Big Brother approach to anything

Sail the Nile in style

It’s hard to resist a bit of amateur sleuthing when you’re on a Nile cruise. As my boyfriend and I boarded the luxury liner Oberoi Zahra, we scrutinised the other passengers like Hercule Poirot might. Was the elegant Chinese-American businesswoman’s young companion her son or her lover? What resentments lay behind the silent mealtimes of the

An insider’s account of the CCP’s stranglehold on China

All families have secrets, but few family histories are classified by the state. After the death of Snow’s father, his study is cleared out by officials from the Chinese Communist party; but Snow discovers letters and unmarked hard drives hidden in hollowed-out dictionaries that they’d missed. The material reveals that her father was a high-ranking

Taiwan can’t escape China’s shadow

The Taiwanese rock band Mayday – ‘the Beatles of the Chinese-speaking world’ – are being investigated by the Chinese Communist party for the crime of lip syncing. Local authorities are combing through recordings of Mayday’s Shanghai concerts from November looking for evidence of ‘deceptive fake-singing’, as the CCP calls it, which has been illegal in

How China cornered the green market

When Rishi Sunak announced that the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars would be delayed by five years, he framed it as a common-sense move. What he didn’t say is that he had been advised that, had the original deadline stuck, Britain’s electric vehicle (EV) market would have been handed over to China.

Why the Tories need the new Hong Kong voter base

With the Conservatives trailing around twenty points in most polls, the outcome of the next election seems all but set. However, even if Rishi Sunak will struggle to lead his party to a fifth term, the scale of a likely Labour victory remains unclear. Whether it’s a backlash from the Muslim community over Starmer’s position

Can Xi successfully stage manage Li Keqiang’s legacy?

Political deaths in China always carry the risk of social unrest. It was premier Zhou Enlai’s death that triggered the ‘democracy wall’ movement of the late 1970s, a student protest that was the precursor for the Tiananmen Square protest ten years later. In turn, the latter protest was triggered by former Chinese Communist party (CCP)

125,000 Hong Kongers have come to the UK. Where are they?

The Revd Dave Ho Young wasn’t interested in being Chinese when he was growing up. After his parents’ divorce, he was brought up by his British mother in Shropshire, while his Cantonese father moved back to Hong Kong. These days, the Revd’s Chinese heritage plays a bigger part in his life: his evangelical C of E church,

How I got to know Westminster’s ‘Chinese agent’

On Monday, I was surprised to discover a photo of myself in the papers next to a parliamentary researcher who had been arrested on suspicion of being a ‘Chinese agent’. The photo was taken in February at a panel in parliament entitled ‘Defeating the dictators’. The man and I are both twentysomething China watchers who

James Cleverly faces his biggest challenge yet on his trip to China

Much has changed since the last time a British Foreign Secretary visited China. Back in 2018, when Jeremy Hunt met his Chinese counterpart, foreign minister Wang Yi, the world had never heard of Covid-19, Hong Kong remained mostly immune from interference from Beijing, and the truth about the mass internment camps in Xinjiang had only

Chinese cities are being sacrificed to save Beijing

Bazhou and Zhuozhou, two small cities to the south of Beijing, have been submerged in record floods since late July, when Typhoon Doksuri swept through China’s northeast. Nearly one million people have been displaced. But this is not just a natural disaster. The region has taken more than its fair share of floodwaters. All of this

Why Xi Jinping finally agreed to meet Antony Blinken

When Antony Blinken got on the plane to Beijing two days ago, the US Secretary of State didn’t even know if he’d be meeting with Xi Jinping. Blinken’s visit was originally planned for February before the US withdrew, at the last minute, after a Chinese spy balloon was spotted over Montana. Beijing has always insisted there was nothing untoward about

The 19th century Chinese craze for all things European

By the 1800s, the mechanical clock had become a status symbol for wealthy Chinese. The first arrived with Jesuit missionaries and Portuguese merchants years earlier, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that those outside of the imperial court could afford them. Rich merchant families displayed their clocks proudly, like their European counterparts had

My weekend with the llamas of Surrey

Want a taste of the Andes without forking out for the trans-Atlantic flight? There is a herd of delightful llamas to be found in the fields behind The Merry Harriers Inn in the quaint village of Hambledon, Surrey, in which you can walk under the guidance of the equally delightful young llama handler, Clara. Afterwards,