Society

Delivery men wearing personal protective equipment prepare to deliver food bought online for residents who were restricted due to a recent Covid-19 outbreak, in Ningbo in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 2 April 2022. (AFP)

Why is China obsessed with zero-Covid?

There is no doubt that China’s continued zero-Covid strategy has affected its economy, and businesses are struggling to survive. Even if the government is firm in maintaining its course, fatigue and frustration have increased among the people. How long will the economy hold up as China maintains the zero-Covid model? And why is China obsessed with zero-Covid?
People take pictures of the Forbidden City after an overnight snowfall in Beijing, China, 22 January 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Fewer Chinese academics in the US will worsen US-China disconnect

With rising US-China tensions and American society’s dissatisfaction with China, as well as a shrinking higher education market, Chinese academics teaching China-related humanities subjects in the US and their already-marginalised departments and courses have been affected. US academic Wu Guo believes that the future generation’s understanding of the Chinese language and of China's culture and history will deteriorate as a result and worsen the disconnect between the US and China.
A worker in personal protective equipment facilitates a round of Covid-19 testing during a lockdown in Shanghai, China, on 7 April 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

A Singaporean in China: Contact tracing lays bare the lives of ordinary Chinese

Through contact tracing records of Covid-19 positive patients, people are getting a glimpse of how their fellow Chinese live their lives. While the detailed records bring up the question of privacy, they have helped to highlight the issue of inequality in big cities and the lives of those who are toiling away and struggling to make ends meet. Beijing-based Singaporean Jessie Tan shares the stories that have gripped the attention of Chinese netizens.
A group of soldiers who finished a month of training wait to depart from the ferry, and is about to finish the rest of their three-month mandatory military service in Nangan, Matsu, Taiwan, 17 March 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan's young men are rushing to complete their military service

With the Russia-Ukraine war top of mind, Taiwan is moving to ramp up its defence capabilities by lengthening its military service from four months to one year. As a result, parents and young men are trying to bring forward the period of service before the extension is implemented. But how effective will lengthening the period of service be? Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang assesses the combat-readiness of Taiwanese young people.
Workers in personal protective equipment (PPE) keep watch as residents queue for a Covid-19 test in a neighbourhood placed under lockdown in Shanghai, China, on 4 April 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Shanghai's worsening Covid-19 outbreak is turning political

The latest Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai has thrown the city into chaos, with the implementation of a full lockdown despite the authorities initially insisting otherwise to avoid the serious social and economic costs. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks at how the worsening situation in Shanghai is turning an epidemic containment issue into a political one.
Men in China's rural areas find themselves in a tough situation when it comes to marriage. (Noel Celis/AFP)

When millions of rural Chinese men are desperate for a wife

In China’s rural areas, despite traditional pressures to get married, young men are finding themselves in a difficult position as the high gender imbalance has led to a short supply of marriageable women. Furthermore, men who are not well-off cannot find wives, with many of the women looking to marry men with better prospects in other towns and cities as a means of upward social mobility. These social problems have led to the abduction and trafficking of women in rural China. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong visits some villages to find out more about these crimes.
Wichayanon Road in Chinatown, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2018. (Wikimedia)

New Chinese migrants forming parallel communities in Chiang Mai

While descendants of older Chinese migrants in Thailand consider themselves Thai, hold Thai citizenship, and speak the language, new Chinese migrants tend to struggle when interacting with the locals due to the language barrier and negative stereotypes about foreign Chinese held by the locals. Their inability to integrate has led to the growth of parallel communities, where new Chinese migrants seek each other out for their social needs, instead of mingling with Thais. How can new Chinese migrants integrate better with the locals?
This photo taken on 15 February 2022 shows people visiting a lantern show during the Lantern Festival in Yantai in China's eastern Shandong province. (AFP)

China and Chinese overseas: A softer soft policy needed?

China has been engaging in a soft power campaign overseas, and one group that it counts on as a resource is the Chinese overseas. Major institutions involving Chinese overseas include the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, various associations established among Chinese overseas, as well as numerous Confucius Institutes all over the world. China will need to be sensitive to the feelings of both the ethnic Chinese and the non-Chinese population of other countries. At the same time, China has to deal with negative allegations from various sources, which may also have a negative impact on how local Chinese are viewed.
Couples attend a group wedding ceremony at a marriage registry in Donghai, Jiangsu province, China, on 22 February 2022, a palindrome day written as "22-2-22". (AFP)

Monogamy or polygamy: An economic choice?

One may be tempted to assume that monogamy is the ideal that humans aspire to, but this is not the case, says Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui. He explains why different marriage systems were devised to maximise economic benefits.