30 Notable Thatsmags.com Features from 2016

By Bridget O'Donnell, December 30, 2016

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201612/thats-year-review-logo-mini.pngFor many in the West, 2016 will be remembered for Trump, Brexit, terrorism in Europe and an absurd number of pop culture deaths, from Bowie to Muhammad Ali. By comparison, China had an unusually quiet year. Nonetheless, there were still a few goings-on in the world's most populous country. 

In our 2016 Year in Review series, we recap the best (and worst) of China's year in the worlds of technology, social media, sport, fashion, food, arts and more.


A selection of the best and most popular long reads on China from Thatsmags.com in 2016.

Virtual Gold: Why Beijing is Leading China's Bitcoin Revolution
1. Virtual Gold: Why China is Leading the World's Bitcoin Revolution 

We speak to the miners, entrepreneurs and visionaries making digital currency happen.


Behind the Webcam with China's Live-Streaming Stars2. Behind the Webcam with China's Live-Streaming Stars

Live-streaming apps are being subjected to criticism and censorship. But they're also giving entertainers a wide-reaching platform never before seen in China.


Bikinis, Bronzer and Bodybuilding in China3. Bikinis, Bronzer and Bodybuilding in China

Gender inequality, drug use and corruption in the peculiar world of Chinese bodybuilding. Today, China boasts its own homegrown world champions. Mainland competitors have won titles in the IFBB and the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation (WBPF).


Behind China's Great Amusement Park Gold Rush4. Behind China's Great Amusement Park Gold Rush

In this five-part series, we look at China's burgeoning amusement park scene and explore how Chinese mainland is shaping up to be the big battleground for amusement park supremacy.


The Lonely Hearts Club5. The Lonely Hearts Club

We look at some of the contemporary faces of modern-day romance in China, including a Jiangxi man jilted by his Vietnamese mail-order bride, a selection of China's young singles with different views on what it means to be unmarried and the gay couples using apps to set up sham marriages.


Out of Character: What's Next for Written Chinese?6. Out of Character: What's Next for Written Chinese?

Dr. Jonathan Chatwin looks at the development of hanzi (Chinese characters) before considering what place – if any – they have in our digital future.


Is China's Most Polluted City Coming Clean?

7. Is China's Most Polluted City Coming Clean?

We visit Baoding, a city in Hebei with a bad reputation and a thriving green energy sector. But will blue skies return to China's most polluted city?


How China's Fashion Sector Exploits its Youngest Stars

8. How China's Fashion Sector Exploits its Youngest Stars

A look at China's fierce (and often murky) child modeling industry. Fueled by an exponential growth in demand for children’s wear and items, child modeling has become a highly lucrative slice of China’s fashion and media industries in recent years.


How Pets Became China's New Status Symbol

9. How Pets Became a Brand New Symbol of Status in China

In China, sometimes pets own their humans. A look at the growing pet industry in China's major cities. 


Why Do People Hate China's Dancing Grandmas?10. Why Do People Hate China's Dancing Grandmas?

Exploring the societal battlefield behind a seemingly harmless pastime. The music and the dancers, estimated at 100-million strong by state media, rattle windows and nerves across China every day. 


A Portrait of China's Left-Behind Children

11. A Portrait of China's Left-Behind Children

China's rapid economic development has seen millions of parents move from rural villages to big cities and choosing to leave their children back home.


Will China's Anti-Domestic Violence Law Evoke Change?

12. Will China's Anti-Domestic Violence Law Evoke Change?

China's first law targeting domestic violence went into effect on March 1, but is it enough to prevent abuse?


We Went There: Travel Dispatches from Across China

13. We Went There: Travel Dispatches from Across China

A short collection of travel writing, from places including the Bohai Sea, the North Korean Border, the Gansu caves and Sichuan's earthquake disaster villages. Tales of adventure by bike, cruise ship and foot. 


The Problematic Rise of Exotic Pets in China

14. The Problematic Rise of Exotic Pets in China

It seems that getting your paws on an exotic pet is as simple as buying a top off Taobao. The question of whether you should is not so easy. A look at the rise of exotic pets in China.


How China's Fashion Industry is Shifting West

15. How China's Fashion Industry is Shifting West

A number of China-born designers who have been educated (or are based) in the West have been gracing the catwalks of international fashion weeks for some time now. A look at the China fashion houses working out how to go global.


In the Minority: Meet Beijing's Ethnic Communities

16. In the Minority: Meet Beijing's Ethnic Communities

We sought out individuals from the city’s three largest non-Han groups: Manchu, Hui and Mongol, which between them make up more than four-fifths of Beijing’s ethnic minority population. 


Is Tianjin's Manhattan 'Ghost' City Coming to Life?

17. Is Tianjin's Manhattan 'Ghost' City Coming to Life?

Yujiapu Financial District in Tianjin was written off as a ghost city. But perhaps it's just not ready yet.


Going against the stream

18. The Impact of Online Music Streaming on Chinese Artists

Online music streaming: Great for Chinese listeners, not so great for Chinese artists? We ask, then listen.


Are Comedians in China Having a Stand-Up Good Time?

19. Are Comedians in China Having a Stand-Up Good Time?

'In the West, you just have to be funny, but in China, funny is just not enough.'


The One-Child Generation Comes of Age20. China's One-Child Policy Generation Comes of Age

We speak to a range of people whose lives were touched by the one-child policy, to find out whether two (children) really will be better than one.


Meet the Devoted Superfans of China's Biggest Boyband

21. Meet the Devoted Superfans of China's Biggest Boyband

Since the TFBoys debuted in 2013, they've been singing, dancing, rapping and even beatboxing their way into Chinese hearts.


Why Chinese Super League Clubs are Splashing the Cash

22. Why Chinese Super League Clubs are Splashing the Cash

CSL: Cash Spent Lavishly. Big football names arrive in China for big, big money. But will it work? Only time will tell.


Meet the Chinese Man Who is 100% Self Sustainable

23. Meet the Chinese Man Who is 100 Percent Self Sustainable

For the last 17 years, Yao Jizhong has barely bought any consumer goods. We spoke with him about living a self-sustaining life in a disposable age.


The death of Shanghai street food

24. The Death of Shanghai Street Food

Living in Shanghai, the presence of street food on every corner is a quintessential part of daily life. Or at least, it used to be. Shanghai's once great food streets are being closed down one by one, leaving the fate of the city's street food hanging in the balance.


What Happens When Olympians Retire?25. After the Finish Line

In our four-part 'After the Finish Line' series, we look at the transformations of retired athletes — from a tennis legend to a mother and the ambassador for the sport, an Olympic gold medalist to a professional boxing champion and reality TV star, an observed trial cyclist to a chef, and a kayakist to an artist and executive coach.


Is China's Booming Fitness Industry a Blueprint to Follow?

26. Is China's Booming Fitness Industry a Blueprint to Follow?

Free wellness apps, workout plans and 24-hour self-serve fitness centers are taking the nation by storm. Are traditional gyms gone for good?


What Food Imports Will Come to China in 10 Years' Time?

27. What Food Imports Will Come to China in 10 Years' Time?

China is no stranger to imported foods. Oreos have been on 7-Eleven shelves for years now. There are more KFCs here in Beijing than there are in actual Kentucky. But what about countries that aren’t Western? Whose food exports will we see on Chinese supermarket shelves in five or ten years’ time? 


The Travel Habits of Young Chinese Luxury Jetsetters

28. The Travel Habits of Young Chinese Luxury Jetsetters

Chinese travelers are evolving as more internationally minded and economically powerful, with the world noticing and catering to them.


Is China's Clean Eating Industry Healthy?

29. Is China's Clean Eating Industry Healthy?

China’s first- and second-tier cities have seen juice-cleanse companies sprouting up at head-spinning rates over the last few years. A look at the big business of China's clean-eating sector.


New Chinese Laws May Ground Drones30. New Chinese Laws May Ground Drones

Are China's quadcopters flying into turbulence? Up until recently, drone regulations in China have been on the vague side, with licenses only required for quadcopters weighing above 116 kilograms. However, much stricter laws are on the way.


For more 2016 Year in Review coverage, click here.

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