4 min read

Shanghai’s First Few Days of Freedom Have Been Celebrated in the Best Way Possible

Shanghai’s First Few Days of Freedom Have Been Celebrated in the Best Way Possible

Too busy to get your daily dose of RADII? We got you every Tuesday with a summary of all the freshest takes on China’s youth culture in the last week.

  • Thousands of citizens have sped to West Bund to skateboard, picnic, play music, dance, and engage in outdoor activities since Shanghai's lockdown was lifted.
  • Chinese netizens stan Love Death + Robots with some cosplaying the mysterious and terrifying siren from episode Jibaro.
  • Photographer Dai Xianjing proves that iPhone photography can be just as powerful as using clunky cameras.
  • Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space, wins netizens hearts again.
  • May matriarchal naming traditions be the new norm! Actress Qi Wei breaks tradition, bestows second child with her surname.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.

Haircuts, Skaters, Champagne: Shanghai’s First Few Days of Freedom

As the clock struck midnight on June 1, the lockdown in Shanghai was officially lifted for most of the city’s 26 million citizens. Residents in low-risk compounds are now free to roam the streets while enjoying the warm spring air.

Freed from (most of) the shackles of anti-Covid lockdown measures, many have fled their homes in the past 24 hours, carrying champagne bottles and Bluetooth speakers into the streets and letting loose.

A disconnect between the official lifting of the lockdown and the city’s remaining anti-Covid restrictions (many businesses are still shuttered) has birthed a new phenomenon: Streetside hair salons have popped up around the city — it isn’t unusual to see men, women and kids sitting (or standing) on sidewalks as hairdressers snip off their unruly lockdown locks.

While many have prioritized getting a haircut straight out of lockdown, as exemplified by a trending hashtag on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, others have been itching to carry out other activities.

Ian Wu, 25, a student from Fujian province, knew what his first activity would be as soon as he was freed on May 30: “I went straight to West Bund to skate. I was there for five hours, skating until nighttime.”

Unsurprisingly, Wu was not alone at West Bund.

On May 31 and June 1, thousands of citizens sped to the iconic hangout spot to stake out their places on the grassy areas to play music, dance, and engage in outdoor activities.

While many are prioritizing outdoor activities, others don’t seem to mind staying indoors if it means getting in some retail therapy.

Dozens lined up outside their favorite luxury stores, ready for some revenge shopping after the two-month lockdown. To each their own, we say!

Dai Xianjing never wanted to only be a professional photographer. She still doesn’t, and probably never will be.

“I think photography is my way of observing, or a convenient way of capturing snapshots of life,” she muses. “It’s more like a unit of my entire creative process.”

With a bachelor’s degree in film production, Dai initially deemed photography easy. She wanted to do more complicated things that would combine her writing, editing, photography, and videography skills.

“Photography is an art of the time. I think it’s more thought-provoking and poetic than videography,” says Dai, for whom different mediums carry their own meaning. “With text, you can create more possibilities through fiction whereas visuals capture reality.”

Her wide breadth of knowledge makes her the quintessential multimedia content creator.

Dai recently released Women at Home, a three-episode documentary featuring women in China living alone. She’s now juggling part two of the documentary and a nonfiction book on the series.

Her photography focuses on women, urban culture, and natural landscapes, with a core intention to explore relationships between people, cities, and nature.

Dai equally enjoys editing with photographing. The task, which requires the same attention to detail as a horologist, sees her spending long hours in front of her computer, making lighting and color corrections to her pictures. Dai says she grew up fascinated by colors and wanted to study painting. Instead, she ended up experimenting with colors in photography.

  • Given that fresh graduates have few outlets to celebrate in light of China’s recent Covid outbreaks, the concert announcement couldn’t have come at a better time.
  • Today in censorship news: Chinese web dramas, which previously enjoyed relatively loose regulations, now require a license from China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) to air on streaming platforms.

Are you a gifted meme maker? Or a storyteller crazy about Chinese youth culture? Take a look below, because we’re currently hiring for the following positions:

Find us on our main site, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and WeChat (@radiichina)