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People walk near the Bund, in front of Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 10 May 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China's top infectious diseases expert Zhang Wenhong: Division stands in the way of defeating the pandemic

Zhang Wenhong, director of the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, delivered a commencement speech in English at New York University Shanghai on 26 May. He observed that in China's fight against Covid-19, a consideration for others in the community helped people follow mask-wearing and social distancing protocol in the early stages. Writ large, a globalised problem can only be solved through human solidarity. The world, especially the young of the future, need to a find a way to work together.
Why must gifts be reciprocated? (iStock)

Chinese economics professor: Why we exchange gifts, from ancient China to the present

Have you ever received a gift that you did not like? Economics professor Li Jingkui notes that when there is a mismatch between the gift and its recipient, the giver and receiver suffer a "deadweight loss". But still, many of us continue to exchange gifts. After much thought and research, Li found the answer for such persistent human behaviour in a Maori myth — you give a part of yourself along with your gift, which is something more valuable than the gift itself. 
This photo taken on 24 April 2021 shows a farmer walking along terraced rice paddy fields in Congjiang, Guizhou province, China. (STR/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: My grandmother and the kind, gentle souls of rural China

Li Jingkui remembers his grandmother and her generation of kind, gentle souls who survived through wars, famines and heartache. The indomitable spirit of the rural folk is the secret of China’s meteoric progress. As new generations today overlook these unsung heroes and economists tinker with models and facts, never forget the kind, gentle souls of the countryside, he says, for their sacrifice is the country’s moral compass.
Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army, built to protect the emperor in his afterlife. (iStock)

Why were Chinese imperial families prone to fratricides and tragedies?

Throughout Chinese history, imperial families were some of the fiercest battlegrounds. Emperors stopped at nothing to hold on to power. At the instigation of wily courtiers, they might even have executed their kin without batting an eyelid. Li Jingkui says economically speaking, this has to do with the logic of contract theory — there was no neutral arbiter in leadership transitions. Without a third party to oversee the proceedings, family members were often subjected to the tyranny of the “lion king“. But under those circumstances, could anyone else other than the emperor have held court?
People wearing face masks walk at Qianmen street in Beijing, China, on 11 February 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: Fathers are not inferior to mothers when it comes to parenting

When Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui sent his daughter for extra classes regularly, he noticed that he was surrounded by mostly female parents. He started thinking about the roles of men and women in raising children throughout history and of his own experience growing up in an agricultural town in northern China. He came to the conclusion that the traditional division of labour between men and women is defined by productivity and the status of the sexes which are changing rapidly in modern society. So what should be the best mode of raising a child in the 21st century?
Funeral pyres burn at a crematorium in New Delhi, India 23 April 2021. (Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

China's top infectious diseases expert: India faces even bigger Covid-19 outbreak ahead

Zhang Wenhong, China's top infectious disease expert who was dubbed by the New York Times as China's Dr Fauci, gives his opinion on the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in India, which is seeing more than 300,000 infections daily. With a large domestic population and a low vaccination rate, what will it take for the country to survive the current crisis?
A man stands at a crossroads in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 5 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Lesson for Jack Ma's Ant: Finance is finance and technology is technology

Chinese author and fintech researcher Yang Jun says that while the fintech industry has been booming over the past few years, not everybody seems to know that it is really about using technology to complement finance, which remains the foundation. Knowing this distinction will help one better understand the current push to impose regulations on the sector.