Meng Dandan

Journalist, Lianhe Zaobao Beijing Bureau

Meng Dandan (real name Zhang Dan) is originally from Beijing. She was previously an assistant lecturer with the Foreign Languages Department at the University of Science and Technology of China. She joined Lianhe Zaobao's Beijing Bureau in 2005, and found a growing interest in journalism. She has written several special features, including one on "left-behind" children in China, and another on the lifestyle of young people in China.

Signs of Alibaba Group and Ant Group are seen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, 23 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Painful retrenchments at China’s internet giants

Even as the pandemic created greater demand for internet companies like Kuaishou, Alibaba and Meituan, these companies are finding their large staff numbers unsustainable, leading to a wave of major retrenchments over the past year or so. This is not just due to overexpansion, but also operational pressures that come with new regulations to protect employment rights. Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan reports.
An unrenovated toilet in Dongcheng district, Beijing, 6 December 2021. (SPH Media/Meng Dandan)

Beijing’s hutong toilet revolution: Giving toilet users some dignity

Beijing’s old alleyways or hutongs are known for their historical value and they have undergone renovations over the past few years. But one aspect that is still a work in progress is the provision of public toilets in these areas, which can be in poor condition. The latest phase of the “toilet revolution” focuses on building facilities fit for purpose and for their users to have a mindset change. A tall order? Meng Dandan finds out.
This photo taken on 25 May 2021 shows a woman posing for a picture on the Bund in Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

More young and single Chinese women buying properties in China's top-tier cities

The trend of single women buying property in China’s top-tier cities is on the rise. They do it for many reasons — as insurance for the future, to have more choices, or for good old investment. While it seems on the surface that they are gaining financial freedom and moving away from depending on marriage as a security blanket, it also means they are laden with housing loans or tied down by their parents who often foot the down payments or even the whole cost of the house. Are they swapping one handcuff for another?
The Hainan free trade port is a new initiative by the Chinese government. (Internet)

Hainan free trade port: Replacing Hong Kong?

Offshore duty-free policy, lower rentals and proximity to mainland China — will the development of Hainan free trade port impact Hong Kong’s functions and status? Zaobao correspondent Meng Dandan seeks experts’ views for a clearer picture.
Chinese parents and their children gather at an education fair in Hefei, eastern China's Anhui province, as they search for suitable colleges for further education on June 27, 2009. (AFP)

Study in the US? Chinese students are having second thoughts

The US used to be an attractive place for Chinese students and families, but given its current poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak and emergence of strong anti-Chinese sentiment, many Chinese are reconsidering whether to move there for studies and work. Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan speaks to young Chinese and their families.
In this photo taken on 3 April, a poster encouraging people to use serving chopsticks and sit apart is seen as two diners wait for their food to be served in a restaurant in Saybag District, Ürümqi, Xinjiang, China. (CNS)

No more sharing of communal dishes: A revolution of Chinese dining habits?

From serving meals in individual portions, to using serving spoons and advocating BYO (bring your own) — not booze but cutlery — experts in Beijing are setting new dining conventions that will upend the convivial culture of Chinese dining as we know it.
The spectacular light show staged during the Chinese Lantern Festival in 2019. (Xinhua)

Can a museum be over-commercialised?

Criticisms have been levelled at the Palace Museum’s heavy use of the institution’s cultural capital for commercial gains. Museum officials rationalise that government funding alone is not enough to keep them going; tasteful product lines and festive promotions are just some of their means of survival.
Tang Jinglin, his wife, and his daughter, now city-dwellers. (Photo: Tang Jinglin)

Ordinary people, extraordinary life (Part I): Tang Jinglin

(Video and text) The story of a teacher farmer who worked hard his whole life to finally live in the city. Yet, a part of him will always remain with the fields. “A farmer can never be separated from his land at any time. Peace of mind comes only with land ownership,” he says. 
Hu Sen wanted to study and be a researcher or university professor, and had no intention of starting a business. In the end, he left Yale and became an entrepreneur. (Photo: Lim Zhan Ting)

Ordinary people, extraordinary life (Part IV): Hu Sen

(Video and text) With the advent of the Internet age, new opportunities opened up in the tech field for those daring enough to seize them. This is the story of one who made that decision.