Society

US President Donald Trump participates in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, 4 October 2020, in his conference room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (Tia Dufour/The White House/Handout via REUTERS)

Chinese pundits question Trump's diagnosis: Is it the biggest show on earth?

With Trump testing positive for the coronavirus, reactions in China range from schadenfreude among the internet community, to more dignified responses from the Chinese authorities. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan scans sentiments in China and thinks about possible implications for the upcoming US presidential election and the future of US-China relations.
Heroes in Harm's Way publicity poster. (Weibo/CCTV电视剧)

China's first drama on fighting Covid-19 hits roadblock

Heroes in Harm's Way, a Chinese television series based on the Covid-19 pandemic, has drawn flak for inaccurate portrayals and gender discrimination. While the depiction of such a catastrophic event would have touched many a raw nerve in any case, the drama’s lack of finesse in telling China’s story has offended not only those outside China, but those within China as well, especially the young. Writ large, those running China’s inability to frame a credible narrative will only see them lose their cachet at home and abroad.
A Union Jack and a Chinese flag on a pole with security cameras in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen gate in Beijing, 31 January 2018. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

A century later, China has closed its doors to Western humanism

British philosopher Bertrand Russell was favourably impressed when he visited China a century ago. More than just advancing business and trade, he saw an opportunity to engage with and positively influence Chinese thinkers of the day. Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao looks at the evolution of UK-China relations and the reasons why hopes that China would develop along a certain trajectory may have all been dashed.
Students attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of Wuhan High School on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei, China, on 1 September 2020. (STR/AFP)

Why intellectuals failed to flourish throughout 5000 years of China's history

Chip Tsao laments the dearth of independent thought in China, following a long history of strictures imposed on intellectualism. If the elements of the “scholar”, “intellectual” and “professional” can be combined and inculcated in the country’s elites, a new dynamism can be sparked off that can help China truly modernise.
Pedestrians in a crowded street surrounded by small shops in the city of Changsha, China's Hunan province, 7 September 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China's e-commerce giants saving youths from the brink of suicide

Statistics show that approximately 100,000 China youths die of suicide every year. In times of coronavirus, the risk of people having suicidal thoughts and possibly acting on them has also increased. Help comes in the form of “suicide interventionists” from China's e-commerce platforms. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, these portals are fast becoming the front lines of shopping for self-harm. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi looks at how e-commerce companies are taking a proactive role in suicide prevention.
An incoming freshman checks into his campus dormitory at University of Colorado Boulder on 18 August 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP)

Trump's sweeping 'espionage' claims against Chinese scholars unfair, baseless and discriminatory

US academic Zhu Zhiqun opines that conditions in the US are becoming increasingly unfavourable for Chinese and Asian Americans. In particular, the current toxic environment and pressure on US institutions to clamp down on Chinese students are undoing decades of goodwill generated from people-to-people exchanges. Will the authorities realise that soon enough and make a U-turn?
A cleaner walks past screens promoting Disney's movie Mulan as the film opens in China, at a cinema in Beijing, China, 11 September 2020. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Mulan: The people-pleaser that ended up offending all?

Companies like Disney hoping to capture the huge Chinese market must buck up and understand the cultural and political sensitivities involved even more. Otherwise, in an age of increased tension between China and the West, they might find themselves tripping up over landmines from both sides.
Students at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, 6 August 2020. (Ann Wang/REUTERS)

Taiwan history textbooks makeover: Eliminating country, people, history and culture?

What is the teaching of Chinese history without recounting the drama of the Three Kingdoms or the antics of concubine Yang Guifei? As Taiwan adjusts its history textbooks and skims over or even leaves out large chunks of China’s history, what exactly is it losing?
The male contestants in the third season of Youth With You (青春有你). (Internet)

Working 'mothers' are the biggest spenders of fan economy in China

The fan economy is a huge business in China, driven mostly by young women in their 20s. But while these fans are willing to spend money on their idols, some chalk up mountains of debt to feed their passion. Given that the idols are endlessly trotted out on a conveyor belt and few escape the cookie cutter, how long can the fan economy last?