ang Yue, a former Chinese language and culture teacher from China, has embarked on an extraordinary journey to promote Chinese culture globally. Dressed in traditional hanfu outfits, she has been traveling across Asia, Europe, and Africa in her van, which is strikingly adorned with slogans like “China on your doorstep” and “Let Chinese hanfu go global.” Since beginning her journey in August, Yang has visited 13 countries, showcasing the rich heritage of China’s dominant Han ethnicity, which makes up 91.1 percent of the country’s population.
Hanfu, with a history dating back over 4,000 years to the era of the Yellow Emperor Huangdi, has evolved through China’s various dynasties, each period adding its unique touch to the attire. For instance, the qi xiong ru qun style from the Tang dynasty features a high-waisted skirt, while the Ming dynasty hanfu reflected the era’s conservative Confucian values with a more subdued fashion. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in hanfu among China’s youth, fueled by social media and documentaries about Chinese history and culture. For many, donning hanfu is a fashionable way to connect with and learn about their heritage.
Yang’s mission is more than a fashion statement; it’s an educational and cultural endeavor. She carries a variety of hanfu styles, complemented by historical makeup and hairstyles, to accurately represent the richness of Chinese tradition. Her goal is to make people worldwide fall in love with Chinese culture through her attire.
On Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, Yang has amassed a following of 1.3 million people, captivated by her videos that depict positive international reactions to her hanfu presentations. Viewers express pride and admiration for her efforts to spread Chinese culture on a global scale.
Yang’s influence is part of a larger movement, with other influencers like Douyin’s @Zhoubaobao, who has 5.4 million followers, also engaging in the hanfu genre. These influencers are dressing non-Chinese individuals in the U.S. and other countries in traditional Chinese outfits, further extending the reach of Chinese culture.
Yang’s journey and the growing popularity of hanfu worldwide underscore a growing interest in and appreciation for China’s rich cultural history, bridging gaps and fostering understanding across different cultures.