Society

Pedestrians wearing protective masks to help stop the spread of Covid-19, walk on a street in Tokyo's Ginza area on 25 January 2020. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

In sickness and in health: Honeymoon period for China-Japan relations?

China-Japan relations have never been better in recent years. Chinese commentators have praised Japan’s elegant gestures like sending medical supplies signed off with ancient verses such as “山川异域,风月同天” (roughly: different lands, same sky). China-Japan watchers say this bodes well ahead of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan in April. But whether this goodwill will last, is quite another matter.
People wearing protective face masks walk along a street in Shanghai on 17 February 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Viruses, sinophobia and conspiracy theories

The possibility of Covid-19 being a US-related biological weapon has been swirling around in the press and on social media. While little weight is given to the conjectures, just like in the case of sinophobia, a climate of fear could continue to cause panic and cloud China’s interactions with the world.
Is there life after death? In this photo, people walk past a picture of Mao Zedong in Beijing on 14 December 2019. (Noel Celis/AFP)

A matter of life and death in the US, China and Japan

Views on the afterlife interestingly shed light on one’s approach to life, says Gordon Mathews of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He and his team find out what American, Chinese and Japanese views on death say about their lives. As the Covid-19 epidemic rages across the world, an understanding of different countries' philosophies on mortality may even be more apt.
People wearing masks at VivoCity near HarbourFront MRT station in Singapore on 24 Jan 2020. (SPH)

Chinese netizens: Is Singapore 'zen' or has it given up?

Chinese social media has been rife with commentaries asking if Singapore is being too lax and defeatist in its approach to tackling the coronavirus outbreak. Han Yong Hong says beneath the veneer of calm lies characteristics that are peculiar to Singapore society.
The health and political threats posed by the coronavirus outbreak is far more serious than SARS. In this photo taken in Guilin on the second day of the Chinese New Year (26 Jan), people are seen wearing masks on empty streets during an especially quiet festive season this year. (CNS)

Why the political fallout from Covid-19 is more serious than SARS

Political scientist Ang Yuen Yuen concludes that given time and circumstance, there is a much higher political price to pay for Covid-19 in the 2020s compared to SARs in the 2000s. 
With the Asian giant being the world’s second largest economy, no one today will call it a weak country. Yet, the yellow peril ideology does not seem to have disappeared. In this photo taken on 27 January 2020, a woman wearing a protective mask looks on at the Beijing railway station in Beijing. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

From ‘yellow peril’ to sinophobia

Zhang Yun, associate professor at Japan’s Niigata University, observes how the “yellow peril” of old persists in the current jaundiced views of China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Medical staff members at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan. The city's response to the Covid-19 outbreak has been less than satisfactory so far. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

The politics behind the change of leaders in Hubei

Amid growing resentment against the leaders of Wuhan and Hubei, Chen Yixin, secretary-general of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, has taken charge of efforts against the epidemic in Hubei. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at the difficulties of changing provincial-level officials in China and the likelihood of personnel changes improving the situation.
Li Wenliang sounded the alarm about Covid-19, but paid with his life. (Internet)

Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes

Hong Kong political commentator Leung Man-tao reflects on the dearth of truth in mainland Chinese society as he grieves the passing of Dr Li Wenliang. He remembers the men and women who have gallantly pursued truth in the face of adversity and believes that we can all learn to do the same.
This photo taken on 6 February 2020 shows people crossing a bridge that can be used only by villagers with a special permit, within a Frontier Closed Area from Lo Wu MTR station in Hong Kong and buildings (back) behind the Hong Kong border fence in Shenzhen, China. The border crossing is currently closed as part of government measures to control the spread of the Covid-19. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

Why can’t Hong Kong implement a full border shutdown?

Lianhe Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing rationalises that Hong Kong’s decision thus far not to completely close borders with the mainland is not unfounded.