Rural

People wearing face masks walk past a flower display dedicated to frontline healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic in celebration of the upcoming National Day of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing on 29 September 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China’s public healthcare system: Robust enough for 1.4 billion people?

David Ng goes over several key indicators in China’s healthcare system to see how China’s public healthcare system holds up. With medical advances driving up healthcare expenditure and a fast-ageing people, the most populous nation of the world has got its work cut out.
Yi women dressed in their traditional costumes are seen busying their hands with embroidery at the communal square of the Chengbei Thanksgiving Community. The government-built flats they have relocated to are seen in the background.

Lifting 'the poorest of the poor' out of poverty in Sichuan: Does poverty alleviation mean uprooting people from their homes?

As China’s poverty alleviation efforts continue apace, Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong visits a community deep in Sichuan’s Daliang mountains. He finds out more about how the Yi people, once mountain dwellers, are taking to their new lives after relocating to government-built flats. Here, residents need only pay a one-time security deposit of 10,000 RMB to stay in their apartments for a lifetime. They have access to modern facilities, jobs and even dividends from shares. Is this truly utopia on earth?
A boy plays on a pile of garbage covering a drain at a slum area on World Environment Day in New Delhi, India, 5 June 2020. (Adnan Abidi/REUTERS)

China and India: When Western democracy fails and only utopia remains

Following the recent China-India border clash, Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao takes a look at both countries and muses that even as some viewpoints converge, different systems and different national characteristics produce very different fates.
Gou Jing and her friends, taken a day before she took the gaokao in 1997. (Weibo)

Stolen identities: Imposters rob poor Chinese youths of their university dreams

For years, poor Chinese peasants, especially girls, were led to believe that they had failed their college entrance exams. Little did they know that schemers had misappropriated their identities. With a greater number of cases coming to light, some justice is being done. But many more steps still need to be taken, says Han Yong Hong, to show that the rights of vulnerable groups in Chinese society cannot be trampled on.
A man smokes at a stall selling frozen wonton near a hutong neighborhood in Beijing, 5 June 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Persistent poverty and a weak middle class: China's fundamental challenge

Zheng Yongnian says China must not get ahead of itself. Recent statistics prove that 600 million people indeed earn a monthly income of just 1,000 RMB. China’s earlier reforms had led to equitable growth, but income disparity has increased with rapid economic development since it joined the WTO. As it stands, the bottom strata of Chinese society remain huge while China’s relatively small middle class continues to suffer in an inadequate social system. Rather than sweep these issues aside in a bid to glorify the country’s achievements but downplay its shortcomings, China must take a hard look at itself and focus on pursuing equitable growth.
A woman crosses a street in Beijing, April 22, 2020. China's economy shrank for the first time in decades last quarter. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Salvaging China’s economy: Economic growth is meaningless if the society is ruined

Professor Zheng Yongnian recognises that the economic impact of the coronavirus will be deep. Beyond thinking about whether short-term cash payouts should be given, he mulls over measures that can see China through protracted headwinds. Key is the political will needed to move the country’s strategies away from GDPism, or an obsession with GDP, to those of building social safeguards as the country strives to build a sustainable economy.
Agricultural e-commerce is helping to lift rural Chinese villages and townships out of poverty. (Meng Dandan/SPH)

Village entrepreneurs' love-hate relationship with e-commerce

There are 225 million rural internet users and over 9.8 million e-businesses in China’s rural areas. With internet sales for agricultural products standing at over 230 billion RMB, e-commerce seems like the perfect way to alleviate poverty in China. Edwin Ong speaks to village entrepreneurs to find out how e-commerce works, the many problems it faces, and its future.