Society

Villas in Huaxi Village, once known as the "richest village in China", 2008. (SPH)

Huaxi Village: The rise and fall of the "richest village in China"

Huaxi Village was once known as the “richest village in China”, with stories of prosperity and luxury. But a recent video of people queuing in the rain to reclaim and cash out their investments seems to point to a very different reality. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing finds out more.
A road along Qidaoliang village located in a deep valley in Hebei province, China, 2014. (SPH)

Chinese villages' failed toilet revolution, clogged ponds and dangerous roads

Professor Zhang Rui takes stock of the government’s high-priority rural revitalisation project in villages, warning of cases of resource misallocation and misplaced priorities. He says while much manpower and resources have been mobilised to build new infrastructure, Chinese villages continue to be afflicted by poor sanitary facilities, lousy roads and a lack of clean water. The problem cannot be solved by simply building more of the same. 
A pro-democracy demonstrator holds a yellow umbrella outside the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts during a hearing for 47 opposition activists charged with violating the city’s national security law in Hong Kong, China, 2 March 2021. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

Eight months after national security law: What's become of Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong national security law was implemented in June last year, not least to quell the wave of protests that had taken hold of the city. And indeed, it is clear that the new law has worked to restore order. But Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing notes that the peaceful situation may not extend below the surface and more needs to be done to tackle deep-seated issues.
Bicycle and car commuters are seen crossing a busy intersection at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany, on 7 December 2020. (Odd Andersen/AFP)

Will the EU be setting global standards in a post-pandemic world? 

US-based researcher Yu Shiyu notes that the EU seems to have gained greater unity and internal coherence from the stress test of Covid-19. In contrast, the US seems to be more divided and has not found its way around the pandemic as well as its many other domestic issues. What has the EU done right to be able to be a standard setter in the post-pandemic era?
In this file photo taken on 6 January 2021 Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

US colleges rethink purpose of higher education after Capitol siege

The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January prompted a spate of statements, essays, and other reflections, particularly by US college presidents. What is the purpose of education, and what is the role of colleges in imparting higher ideals such as civic awareness and a respect for minority rights? US-based academic Wu Guo analyses the situation.
Vendors wearing protective masks serve their customers inside a stall selling decorations, ahead of the Lunar New Year, following the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, at a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, 11 February 2021. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year or “China’s New Year”? The rise of (China’s) identity politics

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata observes that in multi-ethnic Southeast Asia, the term “Lunar New Year” is more befitting than “Chinese New Year”, as the traditional celebration has always transcended ethnicity and national identity.
Pedestrians walk down Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on 12 February 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Pandemic nationalism rages among Chinese youths

The Covid-19 pandemic swept China and the world from late 2019. Amid tough battles with the pandemic and subsequent turning points, nationalism and patriotism is on the rise in China. The younger generation of Chinese born after the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s seem to have reaffirmed their belief in the Chinese system and some of them have even had their beautiful image of the West shattered. Will this make the new generation of Chinese more inward-looking and isolated from the outside world? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu interviews Chinese youths and academics to find out.
People walk under traditional Chinese lanterns along an alley in Beijing on 9 February 2021, ahead the biggest holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year, which ushers in the Year of the Ox on 12 February. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's massive north-south gap in the cultural and economic realms

Audience ratings of the CCTV New Year’s Gala give quite an accurate reflection of north-south divides, which judging by the latest economic information, are still very relevant in China today. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu casts a keen eye on the data.
A woman wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walks past a residential compound in Beijing, China, 11 August 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

The Chinese property bubble that just won't burst

While the Chinese government has implemented cooling measures including reminding people that property is “not for speculation”, it seems that people are not taking it seriously and still believe that property is a guaranteed investment. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing takes the temperature of the Chinese property market.