Freedom of speech

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?
"I'm a little red flower."

[Comic] Chinese youths are like little red flowers

Comic artist Baiyi examines the idea of China's "involuted" generation of young people and their "lying flat" attitude towards life. Many Chinese youths are feeling stressed and overworked, as they feel trapped by a narrow definition of success. "Lying flat" or taking themselves out of the game seems to be a spiritual awakening of sorts to re-examine their priorities in life. How did Chinese youths arrive at such a state of being?
A boy holds up a US flag as guests attend Independence Day celebrations at the White House in Washington, DC, 4 July 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

Can China hold its own without the US?

Researcher Wei Da notes that China and the US have been moving on increasingly divergent paths, to the point that relations may soon be irrevocably broken. Despite China’s confidence that it can make it without the US, its strong nationalism may be all that keeps it going.
A supporter gestures while holding the final edition of Apple Daily in Hong Kong, China, 24 June 2021. (Lam Yik/Reuters)

Beijing’s message behind the closure of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily

Han Yong Hong observes that the Hong Kong pro-democracy paper Apple Daily meant different things to different people. Its own history and rise to infamy was also chequered and at times conflicting. But its demise just before 1 July seems to indicate that the central government is sending a clear message that without “one country”, there can be no “two systems”.
Soldiers wait for buses to return back to their base, at Liberty Square in Taipei, Taiwan, 16 May 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwanese youth: Taiwan not the 'most dangerous place on earth'

People often compare Taiwan and mainland China, and even the Taiwanese knock themselves for lagging behind, especially in terms of economy and business. One frequent comment is that Taiwan is content with “small blessings”. Social entrepreneur and columnist Jack Huang disagrees, saying that the youth in Taiwan are channelling their energy into worthy causes and working hard towards building an inclusive society and a better world for everyone.
People attend a vigil commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen square pro-democracy protests and crackdown outside of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, California on 4 June 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP)

A question of human rights: Is China an aggressor and oppressor?

Chinese academic Li Yuehua takes a look at reports on China’s human rights record, and analyses whether it really deserves its negative reputation. Hasn’t China tried to improve the lives of its people, and isn’t the right to survival and development a major part of human rights? He believes that painting China as an aggressor and oppressor only fulfils the interests of a few politicians to the detriment of people-to-people relations between China and the West.
People walk along Qianmen Street, a popular pedestrianised traditional street with shops and restaurants in Beijing on 2 May 2021. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

Nationalistic and patriotic? Chinese youths are more than that.

Every day, scores of young people from small cities or farming villages make their way to big cities to find work. Inhabiting the space between their old and new worlds, they find kinship and cultural affinity in online groups, forming subcultures that have emerged as alternatives to the mainstream. While this widens their network beyond their usual social circles, it has also spawned a form of online tribalism. How does this affect their worldviews and interactions online and offline? Wu Guo explores the topic.
Black Lives Matter activists stand with shields outside of the Columbus Police Headquarters in reaction to the police shooting of a teenage girl on 20 April 2021 in Columbus, Ohio, US. (Stephen Zenner/Getty Images/AFP)

Chinese academic: Why the US ignores its own human rights issues and accuses others instead

Due to the US's historical and political heritage, Americans assume that they are one up on other countries when it comes to human rights. Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that the US's human rights record has actually been less than perfect. But how is it that they can be in denial about their own faults while accusing others of human rights violations?
"You can't convince everyone."

[Comic] A Chinese youth's search for meaning in life

What would an idealistic young Chinese person say to those who prefer to live their life in the virtual world, or who are willing to give up their voices in exchange for little comforts? Or who choose to turn a blind eye to the plight of others, as long as one is well looked after? Is it possible to convince others to be idealistic? Or does one have to look for inspiration and support from the ancients? Young comic artist Bai Yi from China shares her thoughts.