Society

Pedestrians in a crowded street surrounded by small shops in the city of Changsha, China's Hunan province, 7 September 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China's e-commerce giants saving youths from the brink of suicide

Statistics show that approximately 100,000 China youths die of suicide every year. In times of coronavirus, the risk of people having suicidal thoughts and possibly acting on them has also increased. Help comes in the form of “suicide interventionists” from China's e-commerce platforms. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, these portals are fast becoming the front lines of shopping for self-harm. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi looks at how e-commerce companies are taking a proactive role in suicide prevention.
An incoming freshman checks into his campus dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder on 18 August 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP)

Trump's sweeping 'espionage' claims against Chinese scholars unfair, baseless and discriminatory

US academic Zhu Zhiqun opines that conditions in the US are becoming increasingly unfavourable for Chinese and Asian Americans. In particular, the current toxic environment and pressure on US institutions to clamp down on Chinese students are undoing decades of goodwill generated from people-to-people exchanges. Will the authorities realise that soon enough and make a U-turn?
A cleaner walks past screens promoting Disney's movie Mulan as the film opens in China, at a cinema in Beijing, China, 11 September 2020. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Mulan: The people-pleaser that ended up offending all?

Companies like Disney hoping to capture the huge Chinese market must buck up and understand the cultural and political sensitivities involved even more. Otherwise, in an age of increased tension between China and the West, they might find themselves tripping up over landmines from both sides.
Students at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, 6 August 2020. (Ann Wang/REUTERS)

Taiwan history textbooks makeover: Eliminating country, people, history and culture?

What is the teaching of Chinese history without recounting the drama of the Three Kingdoms or the antics of concubine Yang Guifei? As Taiwan adjusts its history textbooks and skims over or even leaves out large chunks of China’s history, what exactly is it losing?
The male contestants in the third season of Youth With You (青春有你). (Internet)

Working 'mothers' are the biggest spenders of fan economy in China

The fan economy is a huge business in China, driven mostly by young women in their 20s. But while these fans are willing to spend money on their idols, some chalk up mountains of debt to feed their passion. Given that the idols are endlessly trotted out on a conveyor belt and few escape the cookie cutter, how long can the fan economy last?
Elementary school students in Wuhan decked out in their performance outfits.

I found no trace of the pandemic in Wuhan, but is that how the China story should be told?

On an organised visit to Wuhan with other journalists and business representatives, Lianhe Zaobao’s Shanghai correspondent Chen Jing sees a city that appears to be humming away as if the Covid-19 disaster was nothing but a bad dream. Nevertheless, she gets an inkling that many stories of the pandemic are still waiting to be told. She resolves to tell them, all in good time.
The Giant Buddha overlooks the waters and Leshan city. (iStock)

Giant Buddha and sponge cities: Combating floods where three rivers meet

The recent floods in Sichuan were serious enough to wet the feet of the Leshan Giant Buddha, which sits on a platform at 362 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Dadu, Qingyi, and Min rivers. Academic Zhang Tiankan explains that while the Giant Buddha represents the ancient Chinese's wisdom in combating floods, modern-day Chinese will need to step up the building of “sponge cities” to prevent floods.
A vendor holding up a Donald Trump latex mask that she sells.

Who will win the US election? Chinese vendors at ‘the world’s supermarket’ think they have the answer

Four years ago, when most political pundits put their money on Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, vendors in the Yiwu International Trade Market in Zhejiang province already knew that Trump would win. Orders of presidential election merchandise gave them the clue. Termed “the world’s supermarket”, Yiwu is the world’s biggest wholesale market of small commodities. How is it seeking to reinvent itself in the pandemic downturn, and what does this year’s orders list tell them about the likely outcome of the 2020 US presidential election?
Demonstrators, holding signs with Mongolian script, protest against China's changes to school curriculums that remove Mongolian language from core subjects, outside the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 31 August 2020. (Anand Tumurtogoo/Reuters)

Inner Mongolia's new language policy: Will it endanger Mongolian culture and language?

Inner Mongolian students were told that they will be taught in Mandarin instead of the Mongolian language using national textbooks. This policy seems to be for the greater good of fostering national unity in China, but the implementation methods can certainly be better refined. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong examines the issue.