Society

Elderly eat in a community canteen in Changbai county, Jilin province, China, on 17 November 2022. (CNS)

Not everything has to be run by the state: Thoughts on communal canteens in China

US academic Wu Guo looks at the recent online furore over the mushrooming of state-run communal canteens in China and offers his views from the US. While providing food for the needy should be part of the state's responsibility, there should also be space for civil society, private enterprises and the public to play a role to create kind and healthy communities.
Zhong Shanshan, founder and chair of Nongfu Spring, and China's richest man. (Internet)

China's richest man Zhong Shanshan sells pure spring water, but can Nongfu Spring stay clean and green?

Nongfu Spring, China’s largest packaged drinks company, prides itself on its clean and green natural water source and low production costs. However, Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan stresses that despite its financial success, the company will need to do more for the environment if it wants to keep its future growth intact.
A pandemic prevention worker in a protective suit keeps watch at at residential compound after it was locked down as outbreaks of Covid-19 continue in Beijing, 18 November 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Chinese local governments struggle to find perfect way to ease pandemic rules

Various areas in China have responded to the new “20 measures” for Covid-19 controls, as announced by the Chinese central government on 11 November. Zaobao’s China Desk takes a look at how various local authorities have — or have not — adjusted their measures and the public’s reaction.
Barriers surround a neighborhood placed under lockdown due to Covid-19 in Shenzhen, China, on 19 November 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Two steps forward, three steps back: Lockdowns in China still prevalent

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at how Covid controls have changed — or not — in various places in China following the announcement of the new 20 measures to ease Covid controls. Going by the measures implemented, it seems that lockdowns and testing seem to still be the default in curbing Covid in China.
Participants run past Tiananmen Gate during the Beijing Marathon in Beijing, China, 6 November 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Chinese ambassador Sun Haiyan: Why not think about China in this way?

Chinese ambassador to Singapore Sun Haiyan responds to an article by Lee Huay Leng, editor-in-chief of SPH Chinese Media Group. She notes that while individual stories have to be remembered, national policies have to take into account the big picture. The difficult but necessary decisions taken on Covid management reflect this.
Medical workers take swap samples from residents for Covid-19 at a testing site in Chongqing, China, 3 November 2022. (China Daily via Reuters)

Lockdowns or not: China's officials face new dilemma implementing anti-Covid measures

Chongqing is seeing its worst outbreak in three years, and although residential communities have been put under restrictions similar to 2020, the local authorities have not called it a citywide lockdown, leading to confusion. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong looks at how Chongqing is handling the latest wave, including a new regional coordination strategy proposed by party secretary Chen Min’er.
A mural of the Communist Party of China flag in Beijing, China, on 14 November 2022. (Bloomberg)

What to think about when you think about China under Covid

Lee Huay Leng, editor-in-chief of SPH Chinese Media Group, believes that the personal stories of ordinary people in China during Covid times form a rich tapestry of China’s story too. When all this is past, and one looks back on the present, apart from national pride, will personal dignity and feelings be remembered?
Residents at a Covid-19 testing booth in Beijing, China, on 14 November 2022. A surge in Covid cases threatens to turn into an early test of China’s resolve to ease some of its strict virus controls, after health officials on the weekend said the changes were a refinement, not a relaxation, of the rules. (Bloomberg)

China eases pandemic rules but people are worried

On 11 November, China eased pandemic rules with the announcement of 20 new measures. While this signals that the Chinese government is ready to open up to alleviate pressures on its market and economy, many Chinese citizens are worried that the pandemic will wreak havoc in the country.
A man walks past a mural on a street in Beijing, China, on 28 September 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Being black in China: Loving something that doesn't always love you back

A young black American who has just finished his master’s in Beijing gives a first-hand account of being viewed as the Other in China. Despite some negative encounters, the conversations he has had in the local language and the friendships he has forged have made the experience all worthwhile.