Education

Amazon workers, environmental advocates, labour groups, and small business owners participate in a rally and news conference to protest plans for a new Amazon air cargo mega-hub at the Newark International Airport on 6 October 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Worsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions

In the digital era we live in, seven “super platforms” in the US and China constitute two-thirds of total market value worldwide. Yet we hardly see any significant joint efforts or “healthy competition” between the US and China to help combat digital divides in the least developed countries. These are places where more than 80% of the population are still offline and the problem has been compounded by the pandemic. How can the US and China do more where help is most needed?
Taliban fighters patrol along a road on the backdrop of a mural painted on the wall of a flyover in Kabul on 26 September 2021. (Hoshang Hashimi/AFP)

Japanese academic: Japan's role in Afghanistan after US withdrawal

Japanese academic Kazuto Suzuki observes conflicting approaches in how the West and China are handling Afghanistan matters after the Taliban takeover. He says while Japan had made some headway in helping to eliminate the Taliban and build up the country, its progress was disrupted by the US's withdrawal from Afghanistan and it now has to redefine its modus operandi in the changed landscape. How can Japan play a role now in building better lives for the people of Afghanistan?
Students attend a flag-raising ceremony during the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on 1 September 2021. (STR/AFP)

Parents and teachers brace themselves for China's new school year under the 'double reduction' policy

Since September, primary and secondary schools across China have started to implement the “double reduction” policy. Among other measures, primary one and two students no longer have written homework or paper-based exams, while primary three to six students will have their written homework load significantly reduced. These measures are changing up the education ecosystem with students, parents, tutoring companies, teachers and schools all having to adjust. At the back of everyone’s minds is the thought that the rules have changed but competition has not gone away. What are some of their concerns and how will they cope?
A woman walks with an umbrella amid rainfall in Shanghai, China, 13 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why China needs to set its own house in order with a regulatory spurt

China has introduced a wave of strong regulatory moves on various industries over the past months, alarming international observers and causing jitters in the financial market. However, says academic Gu Qingyang, these moves could be necessary and might just set China in the right direction to face future challenges better.
A commuter rides his bicycle through an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Every individual counts: China should go for ‘common development’ rather than ‘common prosperity’

Rather than wealth redistribution per se, the deeper issue lies in achieving social justice and equal opportunities for all. Going by the US example, it might not be wise or even feasible to curtail the riches of the wealthy or to straitjacket their business environment. Instead, they and other members of the community can be encouraged to help bring about equitable access to education and a better life.
China's Quan Hongchan is congratulated by a coach after winning the women's 10m platform diving finals event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan on 5 August 2021. (Oli Scarff/AFP)

China's diving sensation Quan Hongchan: Is her rural family 'poor'?

Reflecting on the background of Chinese diving Olympic champion Quan Hongchan, David Ng makes some observations about the urban-rural divide in China. He notes that after years of China’s rapid development, rural folk are still playing catch up economically, but they have not ruled themselves out of achieving success. Their own motivation will get them far, sometimes even as far as achieving Olympic glory.
Left to right: Chinese pop culture icon Gao Xiaosong (Internet), Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma (Bloomberg), and actress/producer Vicki Zhao (Weibo).

Celebrities scrubbed from the Chinese internet: Victims of China’s social revolution?

Personalities such as actress/producer Vicki Zhao and music multi-hyphenate Gao Xiaosong have recently been scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Curiously, among the “wrongs” they are thought to have committed, a common one between them is having strong links to big capital Alibaba. What are the authorities saying with this latest clampdown on well-connected pop culture icons? Is an engineered social revolution under way?
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a welcoming ceremony for Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos outside the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, 14 May 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Chinese youth will be imbued with tenets of Xi Jinping Thought through school curriculum

The Chinese Ministry of Education has announced that Xi Jinping Thought will be integrated into the school curriculum from primary to university level. What does this mean for students, and what is the aim of the authorities? Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong takes a closer look.
A man wearing a mask walks past a model of the Statue of Liberty at a tourist store in New York City, US, 18 July 2021. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

How Americans have braved the Covid-19 pandemic

Looking back at a year and a half of the Covid war, US academic Wu Guo notes that its impact is no less lethal than the two world wars. He shares his experience living through measures in the US, which have been a mixed bag balancing individual freedoms with societal needs and economic realities. Each country has its own model and only history can tell what worked best.