When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

food / travel

Chungking Mansions: Globalization Packed Inside One Hong Kong High-Rise

In the heart of Hong Kong, Chungking’s 17 stories are divided by price and “presentability.” They are home to travelers, traders, restaurants and prostitutes in a low-cost microcosm of our ever mobile world.

All the world comes to Chungking (Cheung Fun)
All the world comes to Chungking (Cheung Fun)
Ilaria Maria Sala

HONG KONG - Whoever has been to perennially pricey Hong Kong on a low budget has spent at least one night there: Chungking Mansions, "the world's most globalized building," offers rooms at unbeatable prices at 36-44 Nathan Road, right on the point of Tsim Sha Tsui, one of Hong Kong's most densely populated areas.

But defining the reality of this address isn't easy: A bit disreputable, active day and night, sometimes chaotic, it's a spacious building with 17 floors that you can access via five different elevators – from A to E in descending order of presentability. The first two floors are dedicated to commerce, the others divided into mini-hotels, restaurants, offices and mini-mini apartments, which are then divided and subdivided and rented out to merchants coming from Africa or the Indian sub-continent who need somewhere to spend the night for next to nothing. According to the security staff estimates, when the doors close at 11 p.m. each night, some 4,000 people sleep here.

Keep reading...Show less
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ