Alec Ash

Alec Ash is a writer in Beijing, and founding editor of the Anthill. His book Wish Lanterns (Picador, 2016) is available at the Beijing Bookworm

Posts by Alec Ash

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What a difference a year makes

Reflections on how China has changed in two years

 

As with dog years, so is it with China years – one here is equivalent to several most places else. They just fit more in. When it comes to pace of change, no-one else holds a candle really.

I’ve been out of China for two years. For a dog, that’s ten human years, and you could argue the rate for China is about the same. It’s like leaving London shortly after the millenium and coming back for the Olympics. Recognisable, but look closer and you notice all the new things.

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Diary of an AIDS activist

Cheng Xiangyang of AIDS charity 爱源 talks to Alec Ash in Beijing

 

“In 1997, in my village in Henan province, China, people started to die inexplicably. There were certain symptoms they all had in common: fever, diarrhoea, and so on. More and more of us fell sick and died. The doctors said there was no virus - but they didn't test for HIV.

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Photo Essay: Across Eurasia in 50 days

A journey from Oxford to Beijing in 16 pictures

 

Phileas Fogg took 40 days – October 2nd to November 11th, half of his allotted time around the world – to reach the port of Shanghai from London. When I returned to China overland from England this autumn, it took me 50 days. Bested by ten days – drat! Of course my aim wasn't to "jump mathematically" between train and boat connections, as Mr Fogg did, but to take my time and see Western Europe slowly change into Eastern China.

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A thangka of blood

A dispatch from troubled Tibet, and a return to blogging in China

 

Dorjee Lhundup, a father of two in his mid-twenties, made his living painting the religious thangka scrolls – clouds, mountains and deities in bright reds, blues, whites and gold – that Rebgong county in the historical Tibetan province of Amdo is famous for. In death his charred body was as colourful, wrapped in orange, violet and white khatas, the ceremonial scarf. He set himself on fire last Sunday.

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Hunt for the red dolphin

They may look friendly, but they're stone cold killers

 

In the resort towns of the Crimea, holidaymakers from the heartlands of Russia laze on short beaches of lumpy shingle, the Black Sea lapping at their feet. They lie on straw mats, fat red bellies up like beached manatees, hardly a gap visible between them. Occasionally one turns over, like a pancake flipping itself on the hob.

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