Central vs local government

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and his wife, Peng Liyuan. (Internet)

Chinese local government’s two-day seminar on ‘first lady diplomacy’ backfires

A congratulatory letter by Peng Liyuan, spouse of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the inauguration of the new Tianjin Juilliard School may have been viewed as a warm gesture if it was allowed to stay as such. Instead, Tianjin officials organised a two-day seminar and forum urging participants to “learn from the Peng Liyuan spirit”, which ended up drawing flak. A case of less is more?
Passengers prepare to board their train at the Hangzhou East railway station in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 20 October 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

When Beijingers can't return home: Is China going overboard with its zero-Covid measures?

Even as the Chinese government sticks to its zero-Covid strategy, with lockdowns and other measures to handle even single cases of infection, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu observes that sometimes under the pressure of meeting the policy, the authorities can go overboard with their measures. Although the people have largely adopted a grin-and-bear-it attitude, if this policy is set to persist for some time, perhaps some consideration and practical adjustments are in order?
This handout photo released by the Kaohsiung Fire Department on 14 October 2021 shows firefighters battling an overnight blaze that tore through the Cheng Chung Cheng Building in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, killing at least 46 people and injuring dozens of others. (Handout/Kaohsiung Fire Department/AFP)

Fire hazards plague Taiwan's ageing buildings and their residents, but is anyone fixing the problem?

On 14 October, an old building in Kaohsiung went up in flames, killing 46 people. That is not the only ageing building in Taiwan; hundreds of buildings are growing old along with the residents that live in them. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong visits a few of these older developments and speaks to the residents for a better idea of their living conditions and the fire hazards they face on a daily basis.
People at Ma Tso Lung village take photos of the sunset against the New Territories in northern Hong Kong, 20 October 2021. (CNS)

Hong Kong’s Northern Metropolis: Castle in the air or realistic goal?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently gave her 2021 policy address, in which plans were laid out for a 20-year project to develop a Northern Metropolis. Commentator David Ng affirms the need to increase land and housing supply to resolve Hong Kong’s residential challenges such as subdivided units, while pointing out that the long timeline could mean challenges in following through on the project.
People cross a road in the Central district of Hong Kong on 25 October 2021. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

It may soon be illegal to discriminate against mainland Chinese in Hong Kong

With a strong push by the pro-establishment camp, the Hong Kong government has made a breakthrough in legislative efforts against discrimination against mainlanders. But negative feelings did not happen overnight. With increasing mainland arrivals over the years, Hong Kongers have been feeling that their space, rights and even property are being encroached upon. Without solving the underlying issues, will legislation improve the situation much?
Delegates applaud during the commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 9 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

New governors for Hebei and Liaoning revealed; China’s senior leadership rapidly promoting political newcomers

Recent changes to the governor posts in Hebei and Liaoning follows on the heels of the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s new party secretary appointments in seven provinces in China. This suggests that China’s top leadership is preparing to bring in fresh faces to the next CPC Central Committee following the 20th Party Congress in autumn next year. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu traces the careers of several prominent names to watch for in the coming months.
People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 12 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Prelude to CPC’s 20th Party Congress in 2022: Seven new provincial party secretaries appointed

A year ahead of the Communist Party of China’s 20th Party Congress in autumn 2022, a round of promotions and game of musical chairs is at play again among provincial party secretaries. Which are the stars to look out for?
Residential buildings are seen in Beijing, China, on 17 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

How China’s housing market landed in the deep freeze

Policymakers have imposed a series of measures to limit rampant borrowing by developers and tighten standards for mortgage lending since Chinese President Xi Jinping declared in 2017 that “houses are for living in, not for speculation”. Following this, developers are experiencing a sharp drop in home sales, which adds to their financial burdens. In spite of this, industry experts opine that Beijing’s determination to reduce dependence on real estate investment will not change easily.
Chinese national flags on display in a public housing block in Wong Tai Sin district to mark National Day in Hong Kong, China, on 1 October 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

Mainland and HK officials step up visits to the grassroots: Hope for lower-income Hong Kongers?

The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or LOCPG has been busy engaging with Hong Kongers at the grassroots level, in order to connect with the ground. Officials of the Hong Kong government and the pro-Beijing camp have followed suit. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing speaks to ordinary Hong Kongers and academics to get a sense of whether this strategy will help to further the Chinese Communist Party’s people-centred governance ideal in Hong Kong society.