Despite a record number of graduates entering the job market this year, China is seeing a shortage of skilled tradesmen, especially for the manufacturing industry. Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui believes that the main reason for the talent demand gap is China’s education system, which is driven by remnants of the backward ideology of the ancient feudal society.
With over ten million Chinese university students set to graduate this year, the competition for jobs will be more intense than ever, and it does not help that certain sectors are scaling back recruitments for various reasons. Can the potential mismatch of jobs and skills be rectified? And will the impact of youth employment difficulties spill over to other areas?
Over the past three decades, China has implemented and revised its labour regulations in an effort to progress its market economy. Despite the strengthening of labour protection, young migrant workers have fallen through the cracks. Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui believes that the labour reforms have led to the social phenomenon of “Sanhe legends” — youths who are caught in an employment cycle characterised by poor working conditions, low wages and a lack of stability.
Hit by China's regulatory crackdowns, increased competition and slowing growth, Chinese internet titan Tencent had a tough 2021. The company has had to restructure and expand its international revenue streams, and it is now faced with tough layoffs. How is it staying relevant in the tech game, and does this mean that "winter is coming" for the internet giant?
China is currently dealing with its worst Covid outbreak since the start of the pandemic in 2020. It is aso facing the "triple pressures" of shrinking demand, disrupted supply and weakening expectations. The central government has introduced new policies and measures such as tax cuts for businesses, the easing of property market restrictions, and providing support for local governments' infrastructure investment, but analysts are expecting a bumpy road ahead for China's economic growth.
Poverty alleviation has been a hot topic in China in recent years. A documentary about the Daliang Mountains where some poor communities live made young Chinese comic artist Bai Yi reflect on the suffering and helplessness of poverty. While China’s poverty alleviation programme has helped ease the situation, how many children in the mountain areas fail to get adequate help for various reasons, and generations continue to suffer the same fate? A kite with a broken string is difficult to retrieve; one can only pray that some kind soul will pick it up.
As a result of the country’s now-abolished one-child policy and other factors, abortion has gained wide acceptance among women in China. A recent work plan by the national family planning unit stated its intention to “intervene” in abortions for unmarried women has sparked backlash that women would lose their reproductive autonomy. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks with researchers and Chinese women to understand the policy implications on women’s rights and how the issue will impact China’s shrinking birth rate.
China is tottering between capitalism and old socialism in its pursuit of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, says Lance Gore. Instead of further entrenching a system that feeds nationalism in the name of socialism, it would do well to update to a new socialism in which the concept of employment, wealth and happiness are redefined to better take advantage of the new technological revolution. But is China ready?
Li Jingkui explains that having children is very much an economic decision with hard choices involved, particularly for women. Research has shown that women’s chances of gaining employment after bearing their first child fall by 6.6%, and by another 9.3% after the second child. The government believes that an extended maternity leave policy will aid women and increase the nation’s fertility rate, but the reality may be much to the contrary.