Society

The scale of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak triggered frightening memories of the 2003 SARS epidemic. In this photo taken in Hong Kong on 27 January 2020, pedestrians are seen wearing face masks while crossing the road as a preventative measure following the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

Wuhan coronavirus highlights the complexity of Hong Kong’s political situation

In 2003, criticisms of how the authorities handled the SARS outbreak were harsh but kind. Now with the outbreak of the Wuhan virus in Hong Kong, people are quicker to cast the first stone despite the authorities’ relatively faster response. Politics in Hong Kong is seeping into every facet of life, even the flu.
At a press conference on Sunday, Hubei officials were criticised for giving wrong information and misuse of surgical masks. (CNS)

Wuhan mayor sloppy and irresponsible according to Chinese netizens

In the face of the Wuhan virus, Hubei officials are being called out for their poor handling of the situation. The latest press conference did not put Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang and Hubei governor Wang Xiaodong in a good light. Instead, it sparked off even greater internet wrath over the officials’ ineptitude. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the reasons for public anger.
The outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus is rapidly escalating. In this photo taken on 21 January 2020, people wearing protective masks are seen arriving at Beijing railway station to head home for the Lunar New Year. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Wuhan coronavirus: Lack of urgency and transparency to blame?

Wuhan is now a quarantine zone with a death toll in China of 17 and more than 570 infected. Cases have also been surfacing elsewhere such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the US. In light of such rapid escalation, Yang Danxu questions why it has taken this long for the Chinese authorities to step up their crisis efforts.
Where is the world headed? George Yeo explores the issues. (iStock)

George Yeo: Human solidarity in a fragmenting world

From a look at the recent street protests and happenings in Hong Kong, Singapore's former Foreign Minister George Yeo explores issues of social media, societal fragmentation, wealth inequality, and big data that have implications for the wider world. Will big data and AI lead to an ever-growing concentration of power? Is the future destined for the dystopia envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984? Or will clever computer minds succeed in creating decentralised internet webs and decentralised AI? While human relationships and institutions adapt to the revolution in technology, we can expect a long transition marked by disruption and confusion. What is needed to overcome the present phase? This is George Yeo's speech at the Induction Comitia 2020 of the Academy of Medicine Singapore on 17 January 2020.
Medical disputes are on the rise in China. (iStock)

No end to China’s medical disputes

A cycle of distrust has meant that medical disputes in China are getting rowdier and more ridiculous by the day. With unrealistic expectations of medical care and disadvantageous policies deeply entrenched, medical practitioner and researcher Hayson Wang laments that the solution is nowhere in sight.
The Mekong River at Sangkhom district in the northeastern Thai province of Nong Khai, with Laos seen on the right. The once mighty Mekong River has been reduced to a thin, grubby neck of water across Northern Thailand - record lows blamed on drought and a recently opened dam hundreds of kilometers upstream. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

The Mekong River’s future and the role of China

The Mekong river is ecologically rich, and a source of life in more ways than one. However, its system is being threatened by the construction of dams by China. Independent scholar Milton Osborne examines the impact of human activity on the Mekong delta.
China is trying to sell its soft power to the world. But are other countries biting? (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

Growing China's soft power: Free debate and creative thinking are key

China’s hard power may be increasing, but its soft power is not growing in tandem. And despite China’s efforts in developing its soft power, it seems most of the world remains unconvinced. Prof Yu Hong of the East Asian Institute looks at China’s soft power arsenal, and the challenges it faces in using it to its advantage.
China's goal is to eradicate poverty within 2020, including rural areas. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Only 17 people left in poverty

China’s efforts in alleviating poverty have worked well in Jiangsu, where there are apparently only 17 people left living in poverty. However, there is scepticism on the figures, as well as examples of how poverty alleviation efforts have not worked. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong looks at how China can do better.
Crime boss Sun Xiaoguo in court. Sun was sentenced to death for multiple crimes, from rape to organised crime. (Xinhua)

Crime boss's death sentence and lessons for China’s economic development

The retrial and reinstatement of a death sentence meted out to crime boss Sun Xiaoguo is not only a win for those championing legal reform, but also those looking to strengthen China’s business environment. This landmark case exposes corruption ills and eradicates bad hats in one fell swoop.