Despite China’s strong cultural history and traditions, its efforts towards promoting reading and building public libraries remain wanting. Researcher Chen Hongbin presents some surprising statistics on the severe shortage of libraries in China, and looks into the contributing factors and possible solutions.
With China seeing virus outbreaks in various areas, local governments have been ramping up anti-epidemic measures. The farming sector has been hit hard, especially considering the spring planting season that needs all hands on deck. But despite recent notices from the authorities calling for smooth movement of agricultural supplies and labour, the implementation on the ground may not be easy.
Researcher Chen Hongbin says that Japan's reason for opposing cross-strait reunification, that China could sever Japanese maritime oil routes by firing from eastern Taiwan, is unfounded. China already has the capability to attack Japan's oil tankers anyway, even without reunification; but most importantly, any maritime security issue in the vicinity would pose a greater threat to China.
Chen Hongbin notes that roads, highways and expressways have mushroomed in China and the country’s overall road connectivity has improved tremendously. What were once far-flung villages now enjoy relatively easy accessibility. That said, more can be done to improve the road systems so that every citizen can have a convenient means of transport. What has China done to improve connectivity in its counties, villages and cities?
In the last few years, China has implemented policies to ban or impose strict restrictions on building supertall buildings. The government is acutely aware that provincial competition to outbuild each other may hurt the country’s overall economy. Not only that, high investment costs aside, the finished buildings may end up as energy-guzzling white elephants.
Despite slogans and sayings about how China has progressed and become “amazing” or “self-sufficient”, making strides in eradicating absolute poverty does not equate to rising affluence on the whole. Looking at GDP per capita figures, China still has some way to go, says researcher Chen Hongbin. He notes that the Chinese people should not get caught up in their own rhetoric, but keep a clear head and be aware of the actual situation.
Researcher Chen Hongbin notes that the Chinese are very particular about generational hierarchy within the family, clan or society. How people address one another in China is a form of etiquette, and using the appropriate terms is a mark of respect, especially when it comes to major national events and honouring historical figures. He says it is no longer appropriate to address Mao Zedong and his generation of CCP revolutionaries as "the older generation" (老一辈), as they were born at least 60 years before the current generation of Chinese leaders.
Shanghai and Tokyo both have train systems, but there is a big difference between them in terms of scale, convenience, and commuter behaviour. Researcher Chen Hongbin observes that Shanghai has much to learn from Tokyo, and by extension other cities.
Given China’s huge population and limited agricultural land, the question “Who will feed China?” first gained prominence in the mid-1990s. Revisiting the issue today, Chinese academic Chen Hongbin notes that China has clear plans to maximise its comparative advantage in agricultural production and use a mix of measures to achieve overall self-sufficiency. However, some people outside of China are still alarmed. Chen examines the issue.