Society

Passengers prepare to board their train at the Hangzhou East railway station in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 20 October 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

When Beijingers can't return home: Is China going overboard with its zero-Covid measures?

Even as the Chinese government sticks to its zero-Covid strategy, with lockdowns and other measures to handle even single cases of infection, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu observes that sometimes under the pressure of meeting the policy, the authorities can go overboard with their measures. Although the people have largely adopted a grin-and-bear-it attitude, if this policy is set to persist for some time, perhaps some consideration and practical adjustments are in order?
This file photo taken on 3 May 2021 shows a fan holding images of actors as fans wait outside the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium before a concert with the theme of the Chinese television drama 'Word of Honor', in Suzhou in China's eastern Jiangsu province. From reality TV to online gaming and even pop stans, China's leadership has launched a crackdown on youth culture in what experts say is a bid to ramp up "ideological control". (STR/AFP)

Chinese youths are falling for the 'Squid Game trap' with Chinese characteristics

The constant pursuit of the high life in China, especially among young Chinese urbanites, often means that they are spending beyond their means. It does not help that financial companies and banks are encouraging people to take loans, while fans of celebrities and influencers are also nudged into chasing glamour. Given the circumstances, commentator Chip Tsao wonders if the Chinese authorities’ efforts towards an even distribution of wealth will work.
Jack Ma, founder of China's Alibaba Group, speaks in front of a picture of SoftBank's human-like robot named 'pepper' during a news conference in Chiba, Japan, 18 June 2015. (Yuya Shino/Reuters)

Jack Ma an agriculture tsar?

Alibaba founder Jack Ma seems set to add “agricultural tycoon” to his list of titles, going by his latest moves to break into the agriculture industry. And he is not the only tech giant in town attempting to use big data and technology to increase agricultural yields. For China, this is a good move that would add to its food security, a priority laid out in its 14th Five-Year Plan. Zaobao’s China Desk looks at Chinese agriculture’s investment potential.
This handout photo released by the Kaohsiung Fire Department on 14 October 2021 shows firefighters battling an overnight blaze that tore through the Cheng Chung Cheng Building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, killing at least 46 people and injuring dozens of others. (Handout/Kaohsiung Fire Department/AFP)

Fire hazards plague Taiwan's ageing buildings and their residents, but is anyone fixing the problem?

On 14 October, an old building in Kaohsiung went up in flames, killing 46 people. That is not the only ageing building in Taiwan; hundreds of buildings are growing old along with the residents that live in them. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong visits a few of these older developments and speaks to the residents for a better idea of their living conditions and the fire hazards they face on a daily basis.
Two women participate in a livestreaming e-commerce contest in Anhui, China, 19 October 2021. (CNS)

Why half of Chinese youths want to be an influencer

Recently, an influencer from Zhengzhou in China reportedly repaid about six million RMB in back taxes, prompting people to question how much influencers or internet celebrities actually make. Do all influencers earn top dollar? Media commentator Yuan Guobao looks into the highs and lows of this volatile industry.
A player of Rogue Warriors esports team trains for the game "Arena of Valor" at his club in Shanghai, China, 3 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why mobile gaming is important for maintaining social stability in China

Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi notes that it is necessary to regulate the Chinese gaming industry, especially for minors. However, for adults, gaming is a low-cost form of entertainment that fulfils the human need to socialise, and the Chinese government needs to find a balance between preventing addiction and encouraging industry growth.
Office workers walk past buildings in Beijing's central business district on 8 September 2021, in China. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Are the Chinese embracing the 'iron rice bowl' again?

More young Chinese job-seekers are looking for "iron rice bowls" within the government. It is even becoming increasingly common for PhD holders to apply for regular jobs. Nothing wrong in that per se, but for a nation seeking greater innovation and technological supremacy, would this be a stumbling block?
People at Ma Tso Lung village take photos of the sunset against the New Territories in northern Hong Kong, 20 October 2021. (CNS)

Hong Kong’s Northern Metropolis: Castle in the air or realistic goal?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently gave her 2021 policy address, in which plans were laid out for a 20-year project to develop a Northern Metropolis. Commentator David Ng affirms the need to increase land and housing supply to resolve Hong Kong’s residential challenges such as subdivided units, while pointing out that the long timeline could mean challenges in following through on the project.
A medical worker collects a swab from a person at a nucleic acid testing site at a park, following new cases of the coronavirus disease, in Beijing, China, 6 August 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's zero-Covid regime: My home quarantine experience in Beijing

Zaobao’s Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu experienced a 14-day home quarantine for being in the vicinity of Covid-19 patients while in Gansu. From her first-hand experience, she observes that people at large have gotten used to and even expect sudden but orderly disruptions when outbreaks erupt and are stamped out under a zero-Covid regime. But as borders start opening around the world, will China be forced to open up to new mindsets of living with the virus?