Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in February 2021 China’s complete victory in its fight against poverty. While China’s poverty alleviation efforts spanned 40 years since its reform and opening up in 1978, its definition of its poverty standards has been ill-defined. Taiwan academic Liu Chin-tsai believes that there is more to be scrutinised before China becomes a global model for poverty alleviation.
Through contact tracing records of Covid-19 positive patients, people are getting a glimpse of how their fellow Chinese live their lives. While the detailed records bring up the question of privacy, they have helped to highlight the issue of inequality in big cities and the lives of those who are toiling away and struggling to make ends meet. Beijing-based Singaporean Jessie Tan shares the stories that have gripped the attention of Chinese netizens.
Chinese academic Hu Ying notes that rural governance in China is facing new and diverse sets of challenges. While traditional rural governance looks after people's need for money, food and to protect their livelihoods, current rural issues could include the provision of public services, targeted poverty alleviation, land management and ecological protection. Not only that, traditional value systems are now a thing of the past as villagers gain an increased awareness of individual rights. The authorities would need different skills, and to be supported by new social structures in order to do their job well.
The viral posts of a woman chained by the neck in Feng county, Jiangsu province, have ignited public outcry. It is not just the plight of the mother of eight that has enraged netizens, but also the abhorrent handling of the case by local authorities and communities. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing uncovers the hidden layers of injustice, gender imbalance and messy governance the incident has brought to light.
Although the Chinese Communist Party believes in the great future of socialism, the basic contradictions of socialism that caused the demise of the Soviet Union are yet to be fully resolved in China, says Lance Gore. As a matter of fact, President Xi Jinping’s mantra of “returning to the party’s original mission” is inadvertently resurrecting some of the same problems that bedevilled classic communism.
“Stability” was the main keyword of the CPC’s annual Central Economic Work Conference on 10 December. Emphasising “economic development as the central task” without compromising on stability, the signs seem to point to the party soon putting the brakes on some of the extreme regulatory measures it has taken to rein in capitalist forces. While it fears its powers could be eroded by the wealthy, it fears even more the collapse of the Chinese economy, which would have dire consequences. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong analyses the situation.
On 14 October, an old building in Kaohsiung went up in flames, killing 46 people. That is not the only ageing building in Taiwan; hundreds of buildings are growing old along with the residents that live in them. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong visits a few of these older developments and speaks to the residents for a better idea of their living conditions and the fire hazards they face on a daily basis.
Chen Hongbin notes that roads, highways and expressways have mushroomed in China and the country’s overall road connectivity has improved tremendously. What were once far-flung villages now enjoy relatively easy accessibility. That said, more can be done to improve the road systems so that every citizen can have a convenient means of transport. What has China done to improve connectivity in its counties, villages and cities?
China’s imports and exports of goods totalled 18 trillion RMB in the first half of this year, 27% higher than the same period last year. However, instead of rejoicing over soaring numbers, Chinese academic Peng Shengyu warns that huge exports also point to a great loss of domestically created material wealth flowing overseas. He says by unreservedly supplying China-made goods to the US who has the power to print money in abandon, and leaving wealth accumulation in the hands of individuals, the Chinese government has not done enough to improve the lives of its people, especially the poor.