A crowd of people eating Zibo barbecue. (Internet)

Chinese are flocking to this Shandong city for barbecues, but it's not all rosy

Zibo, a third-tier former industrial city in Shandong, has been revitalised by a somewhat unlikely source: the humble barbecue skewer. Starting with university students back in March, there has been an influx of visitors hankering for a taste of Zibo barbecue. What is behind this sudden trend?
Young people sleeping at Hai Di Lao to save money on accommodation. (Internet)

Why China’s young travellers are sleeping at Hai Di Lao

Chinese youths are jumping on the trend of “special forces” travel, spending as little as possible to cover as many locations in as short a time as possible, and spending nights in restaurants and trains instead of hotels and travel accommodations. But given the general lack of in-depth experiences and the negative effects of such superficial tourism, is it worth the effort? Or are young Chinese looking for an outlet for their pent-up energy and emotions?
Fire damage is seen at the Changfeng Hospital in Beijing on 19 April 2023, after a fire broke out a day earlier. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Beijing hospital fire: Social media silence shows tightening public opinion space in China

A major fire at a hospital in Beijing was shocking, not so much because of its severity, but because of the blanket silence that lasted some seven or eight hours after the event. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong explores the media control and crisis management following the incident.
Young people streaming in to take the civil service exam in Taiyuan city, Shanxi province, 28 November 2021. (CNS)

Chinese society's obsession with becoming a civil servant

How far would one go to get a job in the civil service? In China, young people are under enormous pressure if they choose to take the civil service exam, pouring everything into it — some tragic cases have ensued. Zaobao’s China Desk explores the obsession with getting into the civil service.
Action on the court at a Village BA match. (CNS)

‘Village BA’: ‘NBA’ with Chinese characteristics is taking China by storm

Nearly every sports fan would know of the NBA in the US, but few would be familiar with the “Village BA” in China, a four-day event in a rural village in Guizhou. By most accounts, this China-version basketball tourney would give the NBA a run for its money as it gains popularity and expands.
Liu Yuan and her son, Jackson.

China's young families sending kids to international schools in Thailand

Given the intense competition and rigidity in China’s education system, an increasing number of Chinese middle-class families are moving to Thailand and putting their children in international schools there. Zaobao journalist Liu Liu speaks to families and academics to find out more about the factors behind this trend.
People gather to burn incense sticks and offer prayers at the Lama Temple, in Beijing, China, on 19 February 2023. (Jade Gao/AFP)

More Chinese youths visiting temples to seek solace

As Chinese youths face pressures on all fronts, from education to job hunting and even finding love, they are finding some solace in prayers to gods. But a recent article from state media denouncing such behaviours has sparked uproar among the youths, claiming that the authorities are far removed from the problems young people face today.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew reacts during a session for him to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, 23 March 2023. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

What Singapore can learn from the Chew Shou Zi phenomenon

Lee Huay Leng, editor-in-chief of SPH Chinese Media Group, observes that the spotlight cast on Singaporean TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi at a US Congress hearing recently is a good entry point for us to think about the role that Singapore can play in the new world order, besides the larger topics such as TikTok and China-US relations.
Mainland Chinese travellers on low-cost tours walk to a tourist bus after lunch at To Kwa Wan in Hong Kong, China, 30 March 2023. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Are mainland China tourists discriminated against in Hong Kong?

The reopening of borders between mainland China and Hong Kong has led to heightened tensions between people on the ground, as each side has their own complaints against the other. The authorities will have to handle the situation carefully to prevent it from boiling over.