“China Instagram accounts” may sound like an oxymoron at first — after all, access to the platform has been blocked for years now in the Chinese mainland.
But Instagram accounts by content creators both within and outside China documenting food, visual culture, fashion, and slices of life from the country have flourished on the ‘Gram. We’ve done our best to sift through and pull out some of our favorites:
Lu Yang is one of the most exciting artists to come out of China in recent years. Her works, with titles like “Uterus Man” or “Material World Knight,” channel themes of horror, religion, and anime/video game culture.
Paradise Systems is a publisher of “exemplary comics from the United States and China.” It’s vague, but it’s definitely the good kind of vague.
Chop Suey Club is a contemporary Chinese design and art platform, serving up intersectional chunks of China-inspired goodness.
You know him, you love him: it’s Masiwei, pretty much everyone’s favorite member of the Higher Brothers (unless you’re a Knowknow fan). A perfect gateway account into the wide world of Chinese hip hop.
And a follow up dose — Lexie Liu shot to fame as a newcomer on hit TV show Rap of China, and has proven she’s here to stay.
Which segues us nicely into Queen Vava. Vava was a breakout star on the first season of Rap of China, and kind of paved the way for Lexie Liu in a country that had never had a female hip hop icon.
Another iconic female in China’s music scene, 33EMYBW dabbles in a number of creative industries, working in art and fashion when she isn’t crafting mind-blowing futuristic music.
Also blurring boundaries is music producer, “hyperpop” star, game creator, and visual artist Gao Jiafeng.
Looking for a bewildering mix of music, candid club shots, life observations and Photoshopped weirdness? Female Fujian rapper Lows0n‘s Instagram account serves up all that and more.
Click follow on this one for a blend of music videos, band shots, and slices of everyday Sichuan life from one of the most exciting bands in China right now: Hiperson.
Shanghai Girl Eats is a mainstay of Chinese food-watchers. The Shanghai-born, US-raised blogger posts about all kinds of food, but shows lots of love for her native cuisine.
LUCKYRICE is one of our favorite food channels here at RADII. @thedaniellechang and others gather to “celebrate Asian culture through the lens of food” — do yourself a favor and put them in your feed.
Chengdu Food Tours is the leading voice in, you guessed it, Chengdu food tours. But even if a trip to the Sichuan capital isn’t on the cards for you any time soon, this account is a great way to learn more about the province’s infamously spicy cuisine and feast your eyes on what this region has to offer.
UnTour Food Tours is another tour company account that — regardless of how likely actual travel is looking for you in the near-future — does a fantastic job of transporting you to restaurants across China.
Chinese Plating is very niche, and we do mean very. As its name suggests, it’s dedicated to the plating of Chinese dishes, or as its bio puts it, “documenting 20th century Chinese food design through archive materials.” Yum!
Simple and straightforward. Pictures of awesome food. And they have a TikTok!
Sichuanese chef and Fly By Jing boss lady Jenny Gao‘s account isn’t exclusively for food content, but you can expect lots of gorgeously shot photos and Chinese food porn from her travels between LA, Chengdu, and Shanghai.
No Sweet Sour is a Norway-based Chinese food blogger whose specialty is food from Yunnan, the Chinese province that borders Myanmar and Vietnam. Her posts are as eye-catching as they are informative, and she includes links to full recipes on her blog.
Lifestyle and food vlogger Li Ziqi is an enormous star in China, and now she’s coming for the rest of the world. Her videos of life with her grandma in rural Sichuan will soothe your tired mind.
Yuhan Wang’s muted, billowing designs take cues from England’s Victorian era, serving us feminine looks that we’ve never quite seen before.
On the other end of the spectrum, Antwerp-based Shuting Qiu’s designs embrace the loud, dynamic, and in-your-face side of women’s fashion.
Valentina Li is a face painter whose work in the fashion field will no doubt stun you. Her avant-garde designs are worth hours of scrolling.
For independent Chinese fashion, Labelhood was arguably the incubator that started it all. The platform helped of the brightest design talents launch their careers, including Next in Fashion contestant Angel Chen, futuristic menswear designer Xander Zhou, and Lady Gaga favorite Windowsen — plus a host of up-and-coming names that they regularly showcase on their Instagram.
Though of few words, Drop China offers a fantastic lens onto the everyday outfits of some of China’s most fashionable city slickers.
Temper Magazine is another loud voice on the topics of new-school Chinese fashion and youth culture, as well as related fields.
Siyuan Gao is serving looks. That’s all there is to it. Worth a follow.
Hailun Ma is one of our favorite photographers. Her work re-imagines the traditions of her native Xinjiang through lenses of fashion and street culture.
Feng Li’s photography is visually arresting, with an unpolished and unscripted feel that points to a latent countercultural energy running through his subjects.
Jumbo Tsui is a visionary photographer who you should probably be keeping up with. His striking work has been featured in Vogue, Elle, and soon, your feed.
Luo Yang is a fast-rising photographer in China, whose work is “identified by its unflinching, intimate look at the lives of young Chinese people.”
Yiming is a Nanjing-based photographer and 3D artist, focusing on neon cityscapes that blur the line between reality and fiction.
Lin Zhipeng is another attention-grabbing artist in China’s photography scene. His work reflects, in his own words, “a certain zeitgeist of the post-’80s and ’90s generation Chinese youth.” We’re inclined to agree.
Beijing Silvermine is actually a goldmine. Described as “an archive of negatives salvaged over the last ten years from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing,” the account provides fascinating glimpses into everyday family life in China from days gone by.
Missionary Magazine is an independent publication focusing on LGBTQ+ issues, art and photography in China.
Even if you’re not able to travel, take a visual trip through the countryside on Wild China Travel’s Instagram, where the hustle and bustle of Shanghai and Beijing give way to the clear waters and sweeping valleys of China’s lesser-known destinations.
China Insider curates stunning videos and imagery from across China. Expect unique cultural moments, dexterous street food vendors, and plenty of tourists on precarious rope bridges.
Kevin Cook, better known by the name of his YouTube channel Monkey Abroad, is the travel blogger you can’t help but love. His infectious positivity takes him all around Asia, but he goes deep when it comes to China, hosting documentaries in rural villages and helping viewers navigate the language and culture.
If you’re looking for lush shots of beautiful landscapes to help you plan your next trip in China, @cocoanext is the account to follow — the National Geographic-featured photographer seems to be equally active in the most bustling cities and the most remote mountains.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, you probably have heard of Zhang Weili. The strawweight fighter made history when she became the UFC’s first-ever Chinese champion just 42 seconds into her Championship fight with Jessica Andrade, and later put up one of the most gruesome battles in the history of womens’ MMA to defeat Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Zhang is certainly one to keep your eye on.
For something completely different, try Chen Kang. The IFBB athlete placed 5th in Mr. Olympia last year and has become something of a national hero. All titles aside, though, check out that quad definition….
New York-based Traditional Chinese Medicine Nutritionist and chef Zoey Gong‘s posts traverse introductions to TCM, cooking tutorials, and reading materials such as Erotic Aspects of Chinese Culture.
We all need a reminder sometimes to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously. Rich Kids English Police is that reminder, where “recording China’s globalization” is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying they post people’s most confident English language missteps.
Shanzhai Lyric is like Rich Kids English Police, but for people’s shirts. Enjoy.
Shanghai Observed is a new-school classic, documenting uncanny and offbeat moments in and outside of the city of Shanghai.
You didn’t think we’d forget, did you? We hope you’ve gotten something from this list. If you have, you’re basically guaranteed to get something from following our Instagram account, where we post our favorite original content as well as highlights from China’s new wave. C’mon, you know you want to.
Think we missed something? Leave your recommendations in the comments below or tag us over on Instagram itself.
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