An illustration of Dong Xian and Emperor Ai depicting the story of Passion of the cut sleeve

In Han Dynasty China, Bisexuality Was the Norm

So tender was Emperor Ai’s love for his "male companion" that, when he had to get up, instead of waking his lover, he cut off the sleeve of his robe.
American and European trading vessels in the Pearl River at Canton in southern China.

The First U.S.-China Trade Deal

The Treaty of Wanghia formalized the burgeoning ties between the two countries, opening the door to new commercial and cultural exchanges.
Marco Polo's caravan

China’s New Silk Road

China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative involves significant funding for infrastructure projects around the world, aiming to improve trade and more.
Joseph Rock

Meet the Man Behind the Peony

In China, gramophone and camera in tow, botanist and explorer Joseph Rock collected seeds from the tree peony that bears his name.
laser gun

The Truth about Laser Guns

The U.S. and most other large militaries have been trying to develop laser weapons for decades. Has China created the first portable laser gun?
US Embassy Havana Cuba

The Science Behind Sonic Incidents

U.S. government employees stationed in Havana, Cuba, and Guangzhou, China, have experienced mysterious symptoms. Could the culprit be a sonic weapon?
Xi Jinping leader step down

How To Make a Leader Step Down

President Xi Jinping of China recently managed to abolish term limits. What compels some leaders to discard the rules of the very systems that led them to power?
Cricket cage

Keeping Crickets for Luck, Song, and Bloodsport

Design can facilitate the worst of human instincts, including forcing animals into servitude and violence. Cricket cages tell stories about how people have treated the insects throughout time.
English tea time

The Extremely Un-British Origins of Tea

Tea is bound up in the nation's history of colonial expansion. British tea drinkers preferred Chinese tea at first, and had to be convinced on patriotic grounds to drink tea from India.