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The Chinese Reggae Scene You Didn’t Know Existed

The Chinese Reggae Scene You Didn’t Know Existed

For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:

  • More than 15,000 kilometers from Jamaica, a thriving Chinese reggae community has found popularity in China’s Yunnan province.
  • Some of China’s most popular video games have paused operations in China to pay respect to former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
  • A movie theater in the Chinese city of Chengdu has found an inventive way to keep the cash flowing in amid a difficult entertainment market in the country.
  • A study by LinkedIn China has revealed that although many Chinese international students would prefer to live and work abroad, familial duty and enticing offers are beckoning them home.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.


The Chinese Reggae Scene You Didn’t Know Existed

Into the Night is a series exploring China’s vibrant nightlife and music scene and the roster of young people that make parties in the country so damn fun. This story introduces the unexpected reggae scene that thrives in Southwest China’s Yunnan province.

This might come as a surprise to some, but China and reggae music have a strong connection. The Chinese-Jamaican community, which first settled in the Caribbean nation during the 19th century, significantly impacted the roots of reggae music. Some formative members of this Chinese-Jamaican community include Byron Lee, who first introduced electronic bass to reggae music, and ‘mother of reggae’ Patricia Chin, who founded the seminal Randy’s Studio 17.

Lesser known, however, is the community of reggae musicians residing in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan, which borders Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

Reggae bands like Kawa and Shanren have achieved national fame for fusing local music elements with reggae and creating sounds that derive influence from Jamaican music while also honoring their cultural roots.

“Wa people live a simple life. They are free when it’s not farming season. They like singing and dancing. They drink moonshine during festivals and holidays, and they love to dance their traditional dances.”

The Wa people are one of 56 ethnic minorities recognized by the Chinese government. The ethnic minority group is scattered mainly throughout Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar, and China’s Yunnan province.

The first episode of our mini-documentary series 'Into the Night' will take you to South-West China to explore the relationship between ethnic minorities' identity, local culture, and the Jamaican music genre. Dropping on December 9.

International Students Return to China Despite Stagnant Job Market

A recent report released by LinkedIn China has revealed that most Chinese international students prefer to find jobs overseas since they’re less familiar with China’s hiring processes. They’re also concerned about lower salaries in their home country and not fitting in with overtime or 996 work culture.

However, this willingness to remain abroad after graduation varies by country. Chinese students in Canada and the U.S. are more willing to find a job and continue living in the country where they received their education compared to European countries such as England and France.

However, the data also shows that more international students have been returning to China — a decision perhaps fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021 alone, more than 1 million Chinese international students returned to their motherland — double 2018’s figures.

Most returnees have cited ‘family’ and ‘cultural issues’ as their reasons for coming back to China.

DAMN, YOU SPEAK CHINESE TOO?

Foreign languages are usually an afterthought for moviemakers in the West. RADII reviewed some especially terrible examples of spoken Mandarin in movies and died a little inside.

Cover your ears / Don't let these actors' horrendous accents ruin your viewing experience! Like if your native language is being butchered by Hollywood too.

  • Medusa, a music label and one of China’s most iconic and well-known queer parties, is back after a seven-month hiatus.
  • Mason Lee, son of celebrated director Ang Lee, is set to star as one of the most influential martial artists of all time — Bruce ‘Little Dragon’ Lee.

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