Poverty

"Doctors scour mountains and the sea to exterminate every single virus."

[Comic] Dystopia or 'a beautiful new world'?

Comic artist Bai Yi's artwork gives a glimpse into a dystopian world where individual lives are considered insignificant before the all-powerful and all-important state machine, and where herculean efforts are needed to uphold the dignity of human lives.
A still from the movie Return to Dust, with Wu Renlin (left) and Hai Qing in the lead roles. (Internet)

Can China's movies depict poverty and the ugliness of society?

The movie Return to Dust depicts the difficult circumstances of a rural couple in China. Despite the high ratings and box office takings, some detractors say that the film feeds Western stereotypes of rural Chinese. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at whether the movie panders to Western tastes, and whether it invalidates China’s efforts at poverty alleviation.
A sprinkler irrigates a corn field to mitigate the impact of drought brought by high temperatures, in Xiliangshi village of Boai county in Jiaozuo, Henan province, China, 20 June 2022. (China Daily via Reuters)

Pandemic could stymie China’s poverty alleviation and rural revitalisation efforts

The Covid-19 pandemic has badly hit the Chinese economy, with ordinary folk bearing the brunt of the impact. Migrant workers and rural farmers have had to pivot to other fields to make ends meet, and even then the outlook is still grim. Can the authorities safeguard its efforts in poverty alleviation and rural revitalisation? Zaobao journalists Miao Zong-Han and Zeng Shi look into the issue.
A Chinese flag flutters near people lining up to get tested at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site, amid Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, China, 18 May 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Why Xi Jinping's bold experiments with socialism are commendable

While China’s market-based socialism with Chinese characteristics has lifted many out of poverty, creating the Chinese miracle, the ills of abiding by the “laws of the market” should be tackled and reined in. In the ever-evolving model of new socialism, a mechanism needs to be established that can raise and maintain a good standard of living in the absence of economic growth. This is so that people can transcend the pursuit of the material and live their lives with meaning and purpose.
Workers use planters to plant corn seeds on the fields in a village on the outskirts of Wuwei, Gansu province, China, 14 April 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

It is debatable whether China has truly alleviated poverty

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.
A worker in personal protective equipment facilitates a round of Covid-19 testing during a lockdown in Shanghai, China, on 7 April 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

A Singaporean in China: Contact tracing lays bare the lives of ordinary Chinese

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.
A farmer tends to his rice field in the village of Yangchao in Liping County, Guizhou province, China, 11 June 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Governing modern Chinese villages is a big challenge

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.
After making some comparisons, netizens believe that the chained woman (left) resembles Li Ying, a missing woman from Sichuan. (Internet)

Chained mother of eight brings attention to abduction and sale of women in rural China

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.
A man takes a photo of a screen broadcasting Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering his New Year speech, at a restaurant in Beijing, China, on 31 December 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Is Chinese socialism superior?

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.