Education

Two mothers in red qipaos hug their children at an exam centre in Hainan, 7 July 2020. (Luo Yunfei/CNS)

Purple underwear and qipao — tips to ace China’s gaokao

China’s gaokao began yesterday, with millions of students taking this national university entrance exam (gaokao). One phenomenon that got Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu curious was students wearing purple underwear to the exams. She examines this and other superstitions that give students a mental boost in the exam, and says that the gaokao needs to remain fair.
Gou Jing and her friends, taken a day before she took the gaokao in 1997. (Weibo)

Stolen identities: Imposters rob poor Chinese youths of their university dreams

For years, poor Chinese peasants, especially girls, were led to believe that they had failed their college entrance exams. Little did they know that schemers had misappropriated their identities. With a greater number of cases coming to light, some justice is being done. But many more steps still need to be taken, says Han Yong Hong, to show that the rights of vulnerable groups in Chinese society cannot be trampled on.
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?"
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.
A Mirimus Inc lab scientist holds Covid-19 samples from recovered patients on 10 April 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Misha Friedman/Getty Images/AFP)

Did Chinese spies steal US technology? US thinks so and is taking action

Convinced that China has been stealing information and know-how through people insurgents at all levels, the US is making haste to withdraw opportunities for Chinese to tap on US innovation in any way. Thus far, experts of Chinese descent who work in particularly sensitive fields in the US are facing the brunt of increased scrutiny. Does this signal the end of long-held American generosity and openness in sharing knowledge, at least as it applies to the Chinese?
Young people wearing face masks amid concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus walk dressed in Tang Dynasty costumes at Century Park in Shanghai on 22 March 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Is China’s younger generation having it better?

When a video depicting the rosy lives of youth in China went viral on China’s Youth Day (4 May), young and old Chinese alike stopped to ponder what kind of society the youth have inherited. Is it paved with gold, or just as rough around the edges as before? Amid new problems that a rising China faces today, the post-90s generation will just have to make this era their own, with all its foibles, just as their parents and earlier generations have done before them.
Students wearing face masks arrive at the Huayu Middle School in Shanghai, April 27, 2020. Students returned to class for the first time since schools were closed in January as part of efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

'Mother hens' in China: A phenomenon of East Asian attitudes to education?

Schools in China have been gradually re-opening in the last few weeks. “Mother hens” or parents who fuss over their children's education, had their work cut out during the months of lockdown and their trials with home based e-learning. But most of them have taken it in their stride as they are used to coping with major anxiety amid growing pressure in their children’s education that begins even before kindergarten. And the same goes for the "tiger mums" of South Korea, Singapore and elsewhere. Zaobao reporter Zeng Shi takes a closer look at the "mother hen" phenomenon in China.
A man wearing a face mask walks past a mural along a street in Wuhan, China, on 2 April 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Anti-American poem sparks fierce debates in China

The publication of an offensive poem suggesting American origins of Covid-19 while lavishing praise on the Chinese government has ratcheted China-US tensions up a notch. Although the paper claims that the poem was not their idea but a prank played by cheeky hackers, the incident highlights a serious raising of the stakes simply through careless hatred.
Chiang Hsun practising calligraphy. (Facebook/蔣勳)

Picking up an ink brush amid the pandemic, what do I write?

Chiang Hsun shares his memories learning calligraphy from his father, and muses that brush strokes on a page are more than beautiful reproductions of text — it is a living art form that, like a play or a film, has the power to move and even heal an audience.