Society

A mother carrying her child in an alley near Houhai Lake in Beijing, China on 4 May 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Gender equality: The solution to China’s declining birth rate

Providing better support for families to play effective co-parenting roles is more likely to improve birth rates than sending women back to the kitchen, says Chen Jing.
A girl uses a mobile phone as she rests on a bench in Beijing, China, on 4 March 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

A former Singapore journalist remembers a very different China in the 1980s

Former journalist Teo Han Wue chuckles as he recalls his first assignment in China covering an international Confucianism conference in Qufu, Confucius’ hometown in Shandong. Telecommunications facilities then were a far cry from the advances in 5G or AI that China enjoys now. Even sending a facsimile was a comedy of errors.
The Chinese government has made efforts to curb the number of white elephant projects in China. In this photo, workers balance on scaffolding at a construction site in Beijing on 14 April 2021. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

Why Chinese local governments indulge in wasteful infrastructure projects

Even as China embarks on various infrastructure projects, how many of these projects are actually useful, or bring real benefits to the people they are supposed to serve? Are all of these projects truly worth the money and effort invested? Commentator David Ng takes a closer look at a "white elephant" tram system in the Greater Bay Area and considers the issues involved.
People walk along Qianmen Street, a popular pedestrianised traditional street with shops and restaurants in Beijing on 2 May 2021. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

Nationalistic and patriotic? Chinese youths are more than that.

Every day, scores of young people from small cities or farming villages make their way to big cities to find work. Inhabiting the space between their old and new worlds, they find kinship and cultural affinity in online groups, forming subcultures that have emerged as alternatives to the mainstream. While this widens their network beyond their usual social circles, it has also spawned a form of online tribalism. How does this affect their worldviews and interactions online and offline? Wu Guo explores the topic.
Children play a jump rope game in a park in Beijing on 9 February 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Is China facing a demographic crisis?

China’s latest population census was completed late last year, but the results will only be announced on 11 May, pushed back from early April. Some speculate that the delay is due to sensitive findings such as the severity of the declining birth rate. Is China facing a demographic crisis and how will the government seek to balance population challenges and economic growth? Yu Zeyuan throws up some possibilities.
People on a bridge in a village in a Miao minority autonomous region in Liuzhou city, Guangxi, 30 January 2021. (Xinhua)

Chinese researcher: This is how China gets rid of poverty

China has made huge strides in poverty alleviation over the last few decades, especially in rural areas. As of the end of 2020, 592 counties, 128,000 villages, and 98.99 million people are no longer tagged as poor. Chinese academic Yao Shujie takes a closer look at the strategies that have gotten China to this point, including relying on big data, mobilising the whole community, and identifying poor individuals. However, he also admits that there are rising challenges in poverty alleviation.
People wearing face masks walk at Qianmen street in Beijing, China, on 11 February 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: Fathers are not inferior to mothers when it comes to parenting

When Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui sent his daughter for extra classes regularly, he noticed that he was surrounded by mostly female parents. He started thinking about the roles of men and women in raising children throughout history and of his own experience growing up in an agricultural town in northern China. He came to the conclusion that the traditional division of labour between men and women is defined by productivity and the status of the sexes which are changing rapidly in modern society. So what should be the best mode of raising a child in the 21st century?
Trainees of Youth With You (Season 3) at a fan meet. (Weibo)

The ugly scenes behind China's talent shows

The voting mechanism for elimination variety shows in China nowadays demands fans to put their money where their mouth is — pushing their favourites up the ranks with “support” that can be bought in cash. Clever marketing tactics by sponsors or a slippery slope bordering on exploitation?
Patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 are seen inside a centre of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) village which has been temporarily converted into a Covid care facility in New Delhi on 2 May 2021. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP)

Chinese authorities' Weibo post lambasted for mocking India's coronavirus crisis

A recent post from an official social media account of the Chinese authorities mocking India’s coronavirus situation has been removed following intense debate. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu speaks to Chinese academics, who note that such crass comparisons do no favours for China’s image in the international arena.