Society

People (foreground) swim in the swollen Yangtze River as the roof of an inundated pavilion is seen above floodwaters in Wuhan, Hubei, on 8 July 2020. (STR/AFP)

Floods in China: Can the Three Gorges Dam weather ‘once-in-a-century massive floods in the Yangtze River’?

Close to 20 million people across 26 provinces and cities in the areas spanning China’s southwestern region to the midstream and downstream areas of the Yangtze River have been displaced due to severe flooding over the past few weeks. The Three Gorges Dam has long been held up as a bulwark against such massive floods in the area, but recent signs that it is literally buckling under the pressure cast doubts on its ability to be an effective flood control mechanism.
Two mothers in red qipaos hug their children at an exam centre in Hainan, 7 July 2020. (Luo Yunfei/CNS)

Purple underwear and qipao — tips to ace China’s gaokao

China’s gaokao began yesterday, with millions of students taking this national university entrance exam (gaokao). One phenomenon that got Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu curious was students wearing purple underwear to the exams. She examines this and other superstitions that give students a mental boost in the exam, and says that the gaokao needs to remain fair.
A boy plays on a pile of garbage covering a drain at a slum area on World Environment Day in New Delhi, India, 5 June 2020. (Adnan Abidi/REUTERS)

China and India: When Western democracy fails and only utopia remains

Following the recent China-India border clash, Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao takes a look at both countries and muses that even as some viewpoints converge, different systems and different national characteristics produce very different fates.
Gou Jing and her friends, taken a day before she took the gaokao in 1997. (Weibo)

Stolen identities: Imposters rob poor Chinese youths of their university dreams

For years, poor Chinese peasants, especially girls, were led to believe that they had failed their college entrance exams. Little did they know that schemers had misappropriated their identities. With a greater number of cases coming to light, some justice is being done. But many more steps still need to be taken, says Han Yong Hong, to show that the rights of vulnerable groups in Chinese society cannot be trampled on.
A woman wearing a face mask is seen on a tourist electric car at a shopping area in Shanghai, China, on 16 June 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

After Covid-19: People can't wait to visit China again

Lianhe Zaobao reporter Chen Jing was shocked to see a long queue of people when she went to apply for a visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Singapore. Assigned to be the paper’s correspondent in Shanghai just before the coronavirus threw a spanner in the works, Chen has done her fair share of virtual reporting from her home in Singapore. She looks forward to the day that she can be on the ground in Shanghai, now that Singapore and China have installed the “fast lane” for essential travel.
A health worker takes the temperature of a woman amid concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus, at an entrance of the Pyongchon District People's Hospital in Pyongyang, 1 April 2020. (Kim Won Jin/AFP)

Chinese academic: Can North Korea’s healthcare system survive the pandemic?

For a long time, North Korea has maintained that it has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, despite some reports suggesting otherwise. Whatever the truth of the matter, a closer look at how North Korea’s medical system is structured and run will give us an idea of its capacity to withstand crises such as epidemic outbreaks. Chinese academic Shang Yongmei delves into the details.
A Chinese ethnic woman at her shop in Chinatown in Jakarta, 7 May 2020. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP)

Indonesians welcome Chinese investment but fear influx of new Chinese migrants

There has been an influx of new mainland Chinese migrants arriving in Indonesia since the BRI was launched in 2013. Chinese businesses have flourished and people who are bilingual in both the Indonesian and Chinese languages are in huge demand. However, ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata notes that newcomers may create tensions, as they negotiate trust issues with the indigenous community as well as Chinese Indonesians who have made Indonesia their home for several generations.
Renowned historian Professor Wang Gungwu has been awarded the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology. (Tang Prize website)

Wang Gungwu: Sinology belongs to the world

On receiving the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology, Professor Wang Gungwu said that while the foundation of sinology lies in China’s long history and great tradition, many from around the world have contributed immensely to its study and advancement, and the research in sinology has been greatly enriched by Japanese, Koreans, as well as Western scholars. A broad concept of sinology will help modernise its studies, as well as improve its value and relevance to the interconnected world today.
Traditional Chinese medicine has its believers and detractors. (Hedy Khoo/SPH)

Western medicine or Chinese medicine? China's TCM regulations spark debate

TCM treatment is said to have played a role in the fight against Covid-19 in China. The Beijing authorities recently sought public views on a set of proposed regulations on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which includes articles that mention punishments for those who “defame and slander” TCM. A furore ensued as the public worried about the expansiveness of the proposed law. Oxford University visiting researcher Hayson Wang thinks hard about what lies at the nub of the issue and what TCM proponents must do to bring TCM practice into the mainstream.