Meng Dandan

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.

Liu Bin left a career in technology to start a life in a rural village. (Courtesy of Liu Bin)

[Big read] Are rural areas a paradise for China’s youths?

Battered by the pressure of urban living and the difficulties of landing a job as economic growth slows, heading to the countryside in pursuit of a slower pace of life is gaining traction among Chinese youths. However, most of the country’s rural areas still lack vitality and employment opportunities are in short supply there. Is a return to the villages really a better way out for Chinese youths, or are they doing so because they have no other choice?
An office building in the Guomao area in Beijing. (Photo: Meng Dandan)

Vacancy at an all-time high as companies move out of Beijing’s prime office space

Despite the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the office vacancy rate in China’s capital Beijing has not recovered, and is set to increase. From considerations such as rental cost and traffic, internet companies are opting to move out of prime central locations. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan tells us more.
People attend a job fair in Fuyang in China's eastern Anhui province on 29 January 2023. (AFP)

Chinese provinces' battle for talents and workers after Chinese New Year

Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan looks into the current shortage of workers in various areas of China, especially in the labour-intensive manufacturing sector. Why is it so difficult to hire and retain workers, and what does this mean for the world’s factory and the global supply chain?
People walk through an alley decorated with traditional lanterns near Houhai lake in Beijing, China, on 2 February 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Covid-19 best excuse for Chinese youths who dread returning home during CNY

With strict pandemic measures in place, young Chinese have the perfect excuse not to return to their hometowns during the Spring Festival. If they did make the trip home, they would have faced a barrage of questions about their lives and burned a large hole in their pockets trying to show that they’ve made it. As it gets harder to make a living in their adopted cities, shoring up their finances and getting a head start in the working world is what matters most.
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.