Freedom of speech

People hold white sheets of paper in protest over Covid-19 restrictions after a vigil for the victims of a fire in Urumqi, as outbreaks of Covid-19 continue, in Beijing, China, 28 November 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Covid protests: A repressed China needs an outlet to return to equilibrium

Chinese commentator Ma Haotian points out that when segments of the population feel the pain of China’s strict Covid controls, discontent boils over in search of an outlet. As China knows from its history, it is impossible to achieve outcomes that tick every box. It will have to learn to be flexible and accept trade-offs if the country and its people are to move forward from the yoke of zero-Covid.
A woman uses her mobile phone as she rides an escalator past an advertising board at a business district in Beijing, China, on 16 May 2022. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

The dwindling space for public opinion in China

Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo, Bilibili and Douyin have announced measures to clean up the use of miswritten words and homonyms that could be related to sensitive terms, sparking backlash from netizens. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong tells us more.
A worker wearing protective gear and standing behind a fence in a residential area under Covid-19 lockdown talks with a man on a scooter in the Xuhui district of Shanghai, China, on 16 June 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Singaporean in China: The Chinese netizens speaking up for their fellow men

Chinese netizens may get things wrong or even be out of line sometimes, but it is also their persistence in speaking up on Chinese social media that has got the authorities on their toes. At the very least, their willingness to make a stand shows they have a certain faith and hope in their fellow countrymen and their government to effect change.
Competitors in a cross-country skiing event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, National Cross-Country Centre, Zhangjiakou, China, 16 February 2022. (Lindsey Wasson/Reuters)

Media coverage of Beijing Winter Olympics shows parallel worlds

It seems that the Chinese and foreign media have very different approaches to covering the Beijing Winter Olympics — Chinese journalists want to portray the favourable side of the Games while foreign journalists tend to take a more critical stand in focusing on problems. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines this phenomenon.
Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on 1 December 2021. (Jim Watson/AFP)

Rise of Christian nationalism and its threat to US-China rivalry

A year on from the US Capitol attacks, Peter T.C. Chang reflects that the siege may have been the moment where America turned from championing “end of history” universalism to succumbing to “clash of civilisations" sectarianism. Worryingly, the rise of Christian nationalism could plunge America into internal turmoil and drag tense US-China geopolitical rivalry into uncharted waters.
Students attend their graduation ceremony at South Carolina State University on 17 December 2021, in Orangeburg, South Carolina, US. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Are American universities veering too far left?

Some Chinese academics and international students in the US think that far-left tendencies are going overboard in American universities and even fear the dawning of an “American Cultural Revolution”. Are these fears unfounded? What does the profile of those who hold far-left views and have a mission to champion social justice tell us about the evolution of American society?
Peng Shuai in a screen grab from a Zaobao video interview, 19 December 2021. (SPH Media)

Zaobao exclusive video interview: Peng Shuai says she made no claims of sexual assault

In a doorstop interview at a cross-country ski competition in Shanghai, Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai tells Zaobao unequivocally that she has neither talked nor written about sexual assaults against her. This follows her earlier Weibo post which caused a furore when it seemed to level sexual assault allegations at former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli. While the post was later removed and Peng has appeared at public events, the international community continues to question her safety and well-being. Gu Gonglei has the story.
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?