Society

New Oriental founder Yu Minhong started selling farm products online from last month. (Internet)

China's 'godfather of overseas study' now selling farm produce, regrets listing

For New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc. founder Michael Yu Minhong, the year 2021 has been a rollercoaster ride of losses amid a crackdown on the off-campus tutoring sector. The company seems to be bouncing back with livestreaming farm sales, but is this all just bravado and a further move away from the company’s origins as an educatonal provider assisting those preparing to study overseas? Yu himself has lamented in the past that the minute the company listed on the NYSE, it went off course. In the aftermath of the chaos, will it be able to recentre itself, or will it continue being swept by the tide?
A couple poses during a pre-nuptial photography session in front of Drum Tower in Beijing, China, on 21 December 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Elderly Chinese want a second chance at love

Demand for matchmaking services and platforms is on the rise for China’s growing elderly population. Though these people have plenty of life experience, it seems they still conform to the expectations of society, be it assessing a mate by monetary criteria or fearing gossip for seeking a second chance at love. Under the weight of societal norms, their quest for love is riddled with obstacles. On a lighter note, the plethora of elderly matchmaking variety shows that have spawned do provide some entertainment and fun for this segment of the population.
Medical workers in protective suits administer the Covid-19 vaccine at a makeshift vaccination site in Haidian district, Beijing, China, 8 January 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

China's zero-Covid era to end after Chinese New Year?

With the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreading through China in a fresh wave of infections, is China’s current zero-Covid approach still feasible, given that strict measures did not stamp out the less transmissible Delta variant? To safeguard the economy and global supply chains, will a move towards a post-zero-Covid be inevitable, whether China likes it or not? Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong reports.
Commuters ride on a subway in Beijing, China, on 16 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

A Singaporean in China: Bumping into kind souls on buses and trains

On her frequent explorations of the city with her son in tow, former journalist Jessie Tan now based in Beijing is grateful for the little kindnesses shown to her by fellow commuters. She did not know what to expect when she first arrived in the city, and truth be told, there were some preconceived notions, but a year’s worth of help from strangers has her convinced that she walks the streets of a civilised city.
A woman carries a stack of bowls during the annual Vegetarian Festival in the Chinatown area of Bangkok on 7 October 2021. (Jack Taylor/AFP)

The nature of recent Chinese migration to Thailand

New migrants from China refer to the wave of skilled and urban migrants from China who ventured to Asia and elsewhere after the reform era began in the 1980s. Since the 2000s, many have been moving into Southeast Asia. In Thailand, their number has doubled in the last two decades. These migrants are there for business, study and leisure or a combination of these pursuits. In the process, new communities such as Huai Khwang, the "new Chinatown" in Bangkok, have emerged.
Police are seen outside the Stand News office building, in Hong Kong, China, 29 December 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Stand News closure and the vanishing voice of HK’s pan-democrats

With the latest closure of pro-democracy media Stand News and the demise of Apple Daily, analysts see diminishing avenues for free expression in Hong Kong. The intense clampdown on media outlets in the territory in recent months has led to widespread concerns over a total demise of the free press in Hong Kong. Zaobao’s China Desk looks into the issue.
A worker delivers food supplies to residents at a residential compound under lockdown in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, 29 December 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Chaos in Xi’an: From zero-Covid to ‘zero cases in communities’

In the face of greater challenges in containing Covid-19, China seems to have tweaked its zero-Covid strategy in Xi’an to that of “zero cases in communities”. Even so, the situation since a lockdown started on 23 December 2021 seems chaotic. What else needs to change as authorities tailor their approach to different cities and situations? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the issue.
A tram makes its way through a street market in the North Point district of Hong Kong on 5 November 2021. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

The fight against Omicron reveals Hong Kong’s disunity

As the pandemic drags on with the new Omicron variant, Hong Kongers’ mistrust of the government is far from concealed. Some of them have taken to “resisting” government efforts in containing the pandemic. They, for example, have stopped using contact tracing apps or provided false information. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing reports.
Everyday life through the eyes of secret agents in spy drama Enemy. (Enemy official Weibo)

Mainland Chinese TV drama sparks talk of ‘Taiwan spies’

China's new TV show Enemy tells the story of a spy couple from Taiwan living in mainland China. The drama has won accolades and fans not so much for spy intrigue per se, but the realistic portrayal of everyday life in mainland China. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how reel life mirrors real life and the ongoing tensions in cross-strait relations.