Society

A man (L) holds a Taiwan flag as passengers disembark from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan: When can they return?

Intransigence from the governments in Beijing and Taipei has kept a number of Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak. While views in Taiwan are split, academics have launched a petition calling for politics to take a backseat in the face of a humanitarian crisis.
Commuters wearing face masks ride a tramcar in Pyongyang on February 26, 2020. (Kim Won-Jin/AFP)

North Korea demonstrating superiority of regime through epidemic control

Lockdown state, zero Chinese tourists, zero infected case... Keio University’s Atsuhito Isozaki notes that for health and political reasons, North Korea is treating the possible outbreak of Covid-19 as a matter of “national survival”. In the immediate, however, rising prices brought on by disruptions in supply are a key threat.
Rongji signature dish, "Ginger Oil Snake". (Photo provided by Joyce Lee)

Snake soup, softshell turtle stew... The end of traditional Cantonese cuisine?

With Shenzhen’s tough, new regulations proposed for the sale and consumption of exotic meats ⁠— from animals wild, bred or reared as pets — restaurateurs fear they will have to close their speciality restaurants offering unusual delicacies. Others worry that the heritage of Cantonese cuisine will be lost. Guangzhou-based Lianhe Zaobao reporter Zeng Shi takes a closer look at the issue.
A man wearing a face mask crosses a road in Wuhan. China has not handled the Covid-19 epidemic well, and its shortcomings are showing. (Reuters)

Covid-19 epidemic exposes China’s shortcomings

Researcher and commentator Wei Da says the recent coronavirus situation serves to remind China that self-reflection and finding the right balance between four key variables — democracy, scientific thinking, rule of law and religion — are greatly needed.
Wuhan Yangtze River Tunnel is blocked with a barrier during the lockdown on Wuhan. (Reuters)

Is the lockdown airtight? Infected Wuhan former prisoner's entry into Beijing sparks concern

The case of a former Wuhan prison inmate who tested positive for Covid-19 after travelling to Beijing has sparked debate about loopholes in China’s lockdown measures. Coupled with signs that new cases are on the rise again in Beijing, fears are renewed. Lianhe Zaobao’s Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu gets to the heart of the matter.
A security guard in a mask looks out from the Jingshan park overlooking the Forbidden city (center) after a snowfall in Beijing, February 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Who should apologise for the term 'sick man of Asia'?

Amid the furore over The Wall Street Journal’s controversial “sick man of Asia” headline, Hu Hao points out that going back to history, the term may have first been coined by a Chinese thinker seeking to galvanise change in society. Instead of physical attributes, it referred to the apathetic, backward, and foolish mindsets of Chinese who were passive and indifferent towards the authoritarian regime they were living under. He asks if the China of today is indeed no longer the "sick man"? And if the Wall Street Journal should indeed apologise as the Chinese government has demanded?
As the world’s second largest economy, China should have gained enough confidence to not be affected by terms like "sick man of Asia". In this photo taken on 25 February 2020, a woman wearing a protective face mask walks on an overpass in Shanghai. (Noel Celis/AFP)

From ‘sick man’ to ‘sleeping lion’: Have the Chinese overreacted?

Yu Shiyu observes that China could be reading too much into terms such as “sick man” and should by now, have the self-confidence to let such comments roll off their backs.
Why should we shave the heads of female medical staff? (Weibo)

How women are used as a propaganda tool in the Covid-19 epidemic

A nurse who just had a miscarriage was praised for returning to the medical front line; the word “period” (menstruation) was omitted from broadcast subtitles and in newspaper reports; while nurses sat in tears as their heads were shaved. Closet feminist Lorna Wei can’t help but blow her cover with recent portrayals of women in the media glorifying gender stereotypes. She seconds the view that women need respect, not empty praise. 
This handout picture released by Myanmar News Agency (MNA) shows Chinese President Xi Jinping (L), Myanmar President Win Myint (2nd L) and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (2nd R), attending a ceremony marking Myanmar and China's 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations in Naypyidaw, January 2020. (Handout/AFP)

Sinophobia in Myanmar and the Belt and Road Initiative

Uncertainty over the Myitsone Dam project and the influx of Chinese into Myanmar have not gone down well with the people of Myanmar. ISEAS academic Nyi Nyi Kyaw examines the rise of sinophobia in Myanmar, and the factors behind it.