Society

This aerial handout photo taken on March 18, 2020 and released by Thai volunteer group Jit Arsa shows a night time view of fires in Mae Rim district in northern Chiang Mai province, where the blazes have severely impacted air quality. (Handout/Jit Arsa/AFP)

Forest fires: Lancang-Mekong regional countries can work together to manage transboundary haze

With air quality in the Lancang-Mekong region entering the unhealthy range due to agricultural burning and causing air pollution in Chinese provinces, China academics Bi Shihong and Zhang Chengcen examine what countries in the Lancang-Mekong area can do to tackle transboundary haze.
A woman cycles past a screen showing a news conference by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the closing session of the National People's Congress, in Beijing, China, on 28 May 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

600 million Chinese earn 1,000 RMB a month — so are the Chinese rich or poor?

Zaobao's Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu often marvels at the spending power of Chinese white-collar workers around her, and she too was surprised when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang remarked that China has 600 million people with a monthly income of 1,000 RMB. That is more than 40% of the Chinese population, and the figures portray a reality that is starkly different from common perception. Are Chinese people moving up the income ladder and are their lives becoming better as is the common refrain? Yang examines the facts.
Foodom restaurant is a new concept restaurant that runs with 46 robots.

Guangzhou robot restaurant: Robot chefs did their part during the epidemic

The use of robot chefs in restaurants has been on the rise in recent years. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi takes a closer look at how Foodom, a robot restaurant in Guangzhou is bringing us one step closer to the future. But that is not all — the robot chefs also volunteered their service in Hubei during the Covid-19 lockdown.
A woman wearing a protective mask looks at blossoms in a park in Beijing on 21 March 2020. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

The world has become greener because of Covid-19, but will it last?

The world has become greener and cleaner because of a drastic drop in human activity brought about by the pandemic. Professor Koh Lian Pin opines that these effects may be only temporary but the fact remains that the world needs to direct more attention to climate change. He sees China playing a bigger role in implementing nature-based solutions for climate and sustainable development. With its experience and immense investments in scientific research and development, it could even lend a hand to countries in the Asian region.
The conservation of China's green peacocks sparked huge debate in China recently. (Photo: Arddu, https://www.flickr.com/people/21178134@N00 / Licensed under CC BY 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Can less than 500 green peacocks grind a billion-RMB hydropower project to a halt?

Construction work at a 3.7 billion RMB hydropower station was suspended by court order in China recently, because it could destroy the natural habitat of endangered green peacocks and a rare plant accorded first-grade protection by the state. Chinese academic Zhang Tiankan weighs up the arguments of nature versus economic gain. What is the cost of having an intact, healthy ecosystem? Should it all be expressed in economic terms? And how can humans fight nature's battles on the latter’s behalf? Can there be a win-win situation?  
Students sit for the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) university entrance exams in Hong Kong, 24 April 2020. (Jerome Favre/AFP)

History lessons: Who gets to decide what is humiliating, unfair, right or wrong?

Following a recent controversy over a history question in a national exam about whether Japan did more good than harm to China in the first half of the 20th century, Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao asks: "Who gets to decide how history is read?"
A couple poses for a wedding photographer as they postponed their marriage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in Wuhan, China, on 14 April 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Chinese couples queuing up for divorce: Blame it on the coronavirus?

Appointments for divorce are fully booked on Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau’s marriage registry system. The next slot will only be available after mid-June. Divorce rates are on the rise in China, presumably due to increased frictions between couples brought about by extensive lockdowns. But a complicated web of social policies tied to one’s marital status, be it buying a house or getting a loan, may be the hidden lever tipping decisions towards divorce.
The world is waiting for a coronavirus vaccine. (Dado Ruvic/REUTERS/illustration photo)

Covid-19 vaccine: Who will win the race?

The race for a vaccine for Covid-19 has begun, with the US and China in the lead with clinical trials and testing. Oxford University visiting researcher Hayson Wang points out that countries will have to work together in order to develop an effective vaccine, rather than compete against one another.
Chinese parents and their children gather at an education fair in Hefei, eastern China's Anhui province, as they search for suitable colleges for further education on June 27, 2009. (AFP)

Study in the US? Chinese students are having second thoughts

The US used to be an attractive place for Chinese students and families, but given its current poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak and emergence of strong anti-Chinese sentiment, many Chinese are reconsidering whether to move there for studies and work. Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan speaks to young Chinese and their families.