Society

People wearing face masks walk past a Chinese flag in Beijing, China, 11 January 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Why do the Chinese behave this way? China's 'middle society' holds the clue

Even as Western academics are translating essays by Chinese academics in a bid to understand China better, Wu Guo says that in the field of cultural psychology, the views of the well-educated “middle society“ in China are worth tapping into. Do the trauma of national humiliation and other cultural baggage explain China’s rising nationalism and persistent “grand unification strategy”?
People practise social distancing as they line up for a second round of citywide nucleic acid testing at a residential compound, following new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China, 12 January 2021. (China Daily via Reuters)

Chinese local governments are declaring a 'state of war' to fight the pandemic. Is this necessary?

Yu Zeyuan observes that local governments in China are racing to implement ever-tighter coronavirus measures in the face of an uptick in cases recently. Is this an overreaction and all too much of a show to demonstrate responsibility and preparedness at the citizens’ expense?
A couple wearing face masks share a laugh as they take pictures a bridge at the Hou Hai lake in Beijing on 16 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Love in the cloud: China’s emerging livestream matchmaking industry

It was probably a matter of time before online entrepreneurs found a way to meet the perennial demand for love and marriage in China — through livestream matchmaking. From the looks of it, it is a match made in heaven. Over the past two years, scores of people, particularly in smaller cities and towns, have used “cloud dating” mobile live-streaming apps to chat with prospective matches in real time. Seeing opportunity, various platforms like Alibaba, Tencent, Momo, Huya TV, Inke, and Huajiao have entered the fray. Covid-19 has made it even more common to seek out remote means of having one’s head in the clouds, basking in the novelty of new love. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi has the details.
A worker leaves a construction site in Beijing on 28 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Net-zero CO2 emissions before 2060: Is China's climate goal too ambitious?

President Xi Jinping announced at the 75th session of the UNGA last year that China aims to have its CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. How will its efforts affect China and the world? Ultimately, will taking a bitter pill now help China to leapfrog its constraints and build a sustainable economy?
A pedestrian walks past a mural from the "Heart of Cyberpunk" exhibition in Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong on 24 October 2020. (Photo by May JAMES / May James / AFP)

'Transnational Chinese-language cyber intellectual enclaves': An emerging phenomenon

Wu Guo observes that with the prevalence of WeChat and other online platforms, “transnational Chinese-language cyber intellectual enclaves” are emerging. Such an avenue is freeing for some, as ethnic Chinese academics around the world who mainly use the Chinese language now have an avenue to share their views with other ethnic Chinese in or outside China. But for those keeping track of where the centre of gravity of China discourse is moving towards and who fear being left out of the conversation — should they be worried?   
A supporter of President-elect Joe Biden celebrate his victory in Wilmington, Delaware on 7 November 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP)

Chinese liberal intellectuals divided over Trump and the US elections

Liberal intellectuals in China are not a monolithic group. While the elites within the community once served to moderate divergent views, disagreements laid bare by the recent US elections shows that deeper schisms run deep, especially between those espousing conservative and liberal views.
Professor Ezra Vogel at an event in Beijing for his book Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China. (CNS)

Mourning the dearth of China experts in the West with a deep understanding of China

The passing of US scholar and China expert Ezra Vogel means one less voice among those in the West who have a deep understanding of China and who are able to provide an objective and realistic assessment of the country. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu breaks down what this might mean for the world, and for China-US relations in particular.
A woman wears a protective mask as she drives past a banner promoting prevention against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanoi, Vietnam, 31 July 2020. (Kham/REUTERS)

Can China's social credit system be replicated in Vietnam?

The West and certain countries in Asia have very different perceptions of the use of big data and AI to monitor its population and even build a social credit system. French academic Nicolas Lainez reviews China's social credit system and discusses the possibility of Vietnam adopting it to strengthen the government's control over society. However, he says the political risks may outweigh its benefits.
Young Tibetan Danzeng Duoji (right) has no plans to go back to the farm.

Poverty alleviation in Tibet: For young Tibetans, material wealth and city life beckon

Following the Chinese government’s poverty alleviation policies, Tibetans seem to be leaving their traditional livelihoods behind and carving out new lives. How is rapid modernisation affecting Tibetan traditions and culture? Are the two mutually exclusive and a choice that the Tibetans can make for themselves? How do Beijing’s Tibet policies fare, and what criticisms do they face? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu joins a government-organised press tour of Tibet to find out.