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A man plays an online game on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, 31 August 2021. (Florence Lo/File Photo/Reuters)

A metaverse with Chinese characteristics?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “Think of the metaverse as an immersive virtual world where people can spend time together and hang out, much like you can do today with virtual reality, dialed up to 11.” Stocks of companies working on constructing the said metaverse have been on the rise. China, with its huge video game market, should have a head start in this realm, but authorities are sounding words of caution. They fear the metaverse will be as ephemeral as it seems and worse, even harder to regulate. How will it get a piece of the pie in its own way?
This photo taken on 6 September 2021 shows residents looking at a flooded area after heavy rainfalls in Quxian county, Dazhou city, Sichuan province, China. (STR/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: The making of a moral society

How can one encourage a society where people do things that benefit not just themselves but also others? How can we eliminate bad behaviours and encourage better ones by institutionalising various means of rewarding good behaviour? Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui looks at examples from Chinese modern life and history to find the answers.
Dr Zhang Wenhong, China’s top infectious diseases expert and head of the Center for Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital. (Internet)

Who saved Dr Zhang Wenhong from punishment for questioning China's Covid-19 policy?

China's top infectious diseases expert Dr Zhang Wenhong was recently embroiled in an alleged academic fraud case but investigations have cleared his name later on. The investigation came after he put forward the view of "living with the virus", which is at odds with the official stance for achieving zero-Covid. Who protected Dr Zhang from punishment? Was it public opinion, the city of Shanghai or Dr Zhang's impeccable moral standards? Will this deter professionals from speaking the truth in the future?
A screenshot of a vlog featuring single living. (Bilibili)

Rejecting their parents' lifestyles, more single Chinese youths are sharing their everyday lives through vlogs

As young Chinese leave their hometowns to work and live in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, single living vlogs are gaining popularity. Whether they are toughing it out or living it up, the Chinese youths of today seem to be rejecting their parents' lifestyles and yearning to chart a life of their own. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks to some Chinese youths about the rise of single living vlogs.
People look at images of late chairman Mao Zedong of the Chinese Communist Party at the Museum of the Communist Party of China that was opened ahead of the 100th founding anniversary of the Party in Beijing, China, 25 June 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

China idol: Mao Zedong makes a comeback among Chinese youth

China’s youth today are turning to Mao Zedong for inspiration amid a crushing sense of social immobility and injustice. But Wang Qingmin recalls the Mao era to be one of violent political struggles, anti-intellectualism, and cult of personality. Is a return to Mao really the answer?
A man walks past a logo of Alibaba Group at its office building in Beijing, China, 9 August 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Alibaba sexual assault case: China’s ugly drinking culture is a show of power

A recent case of sexual assault involving an Alibaba employee has once again turned the spotlight on the business drinking culture in China. Zaobao’s China Desk looks into the prevalent issue that does not seem likely to change anytime soon.
Kris Wu arrives at the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards (MMVA) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 26 August 2018. (Mark Blinch/File Photo/Reuters)

Kris Wu’s downfall and the dark side of big capital

Kris Wu has been detained by the police in Beijing. His social media accounts are deleted from Chinese social media platforms, wiping out the star's online presence. While this is not the first time Wu is embroiled in sex scandals, it is the first time he is detained. Who are the benefactors and financial powers behind China's top celebrities like Wu? And what does this mean for China's crackdown on big capital?
Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani of Japan celebrate winning their match against Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen of China, Tokyo Olympics, 26 July 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Japan-bashing by Chinese netizens: A lack of sportsmanship during the Olympics?

A week into the Tokyo Olympics and the Chinese internet is already a minefield of anti-Japan sentiments. Displeasure ranges from Japan’s win over China in the table-tennis mixed doubles to perceived slights against China. By playing the nationalism card, Chinese netizens are not doing China any favours in the run-up to next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
A woman walks past a decorated board with images of Tiananmen Gate and the Chinese national flag, marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, at a hi-tech industrial park in Beijing, China, 23 June 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Chinese butting heads with Western media: Irrational nationalism or deeds of justice?

Yang Danxu observes that the Chinese are becoming more confident about refuting Western media reports they deem erroneous or biased. This stems from recent events such as growing US-China antagonism, China’s rise and even some goading on by the authorities. But if unleashed in a vacuum, nationalist sentiment can be a dangerous sword that ends up hurting the one who wields it.