Inequality

A man wearing a protective mask shops for decorations at a shopping mall ahead of the Lunar New Year, in Jakarta, Indonesia, 11 February 2021. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's Lunar New Year celebration paid tribute to Megawati

PDI-P, the political party in Indonesia with the most Chinese parliamentarians and heads of local government held a virtual Lunar New Year party to usher in the Year of the Ox. Party members paid tribute to Ibu Megawati Sukarnoputri, general chairperson of the party and former Indonesian president. How did this party put itself forward as the strongest guardian of Chinese interests in Indonesia? Leo Suryadinata listens in.
People wearing face masks walk near Qianmen Street, in Beijing, China, 10 February 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP forge an inclusive social contract and build a healthy civil society?  

Rather than perpetuate the “giant baby syndrome” of mollycoddled citizens, says Lance Gore, the Chinese government should go against its combative instincts and focus on harmony. Only then can it forge an inclusive social contract with the populace, where there’s room for active citizenry and a healthy civil society.
Shoppers walking past a store of Italian luxury brand Prada at a shopping complex in Beijing, China, 19 September 2020. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

How to build a ‘super-sized domestic market’ in China

Even as China talks of a “dual circulation” system and building a “super-sized domestic market”, it seems that its population of 1.4 billion has yet to translate into a strong consumer market. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks into what it will take for the Chinese government’s plan to work.
In this file photo from 6 January 2021, supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol, in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

America's flawed democracy: When power and cognitive abilities of the people fail to match

Academic Deng Xize notes that the 2020 US election demonstrates what he terms the Socratic Trap, referring to the gap between people’s cognitive abilities and the power they hold. How will this affect the democratic process, and what are the shortcomings of democracy?
A general view of the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccines from China, seen offloading from a plane at the PAF Base Nur Khan, Pakistan in this handout photo released by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on 1 February 2021. (Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)/Handout via Reuters)

Vaccine diplomacy: China and India push ahead to supply vaccines to developing countries

More than three quarters of the vaccinations that have taken place worldwide have been done in just 10 countries that account for almost 60% of global GDP, while 2.5 billion people in almost 130 countries have yet to receive a single dose, according to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. China and India have since embarked on “vaccine diplomacy” in a bid to despatch vaccines to developing countries. They may have their own goals in doing so, but their timely humanitarian aid for others is exemplary, says Zhu Zhiqun.
The curator of the refreshed Wan Qing Yuan gallery showing the decal of the size of a pair of bound feet, a new feature at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Singapore, 12 January 2021. A new interactive element shows just how small the ideal Chinese woman’s feet were at a time when foot-binding reflected a family’s virtue and class. (SPH)

Foot-binding in ancient China: When women fought against their genes to be beautiful

A mischievous saying goes that there are no ugly women, only lazy women. The care one puts into one’s beauty regime determines the beauty standards she can attain. But in the days of ancient China, such effort went to extremes: young girls were forced to have their feet bound. After tremendous pain in pursuit of mignon dainty feet, they attained short yet ironically bulbous “golden lotuses”. Are such unreasonable demands of beauty foisted on women by men, or a shackle that women put on themselves? If it seems unimaginable that foot-binding continued in China for a thousand years, just think of the pain some go through in modern cosmetic surgery.
A Nothing but Thirty poster depicting labels plastered on the three female protagonists. (Internet)

Chinese women in the 21st century: Finding happiness and meaning in life

Nothing but Thirty, a Chinese television series that hit the sweet spot among a largely female audience last year, seeks to dispel stereotypes about women. Rather than having to fulfil all her obligations by 30, a woman is just embarking on her life’s adventure. How freeing, this thought. However, in a society trapped by deep-seated expectations of women as a wife and mother, such dramas provide but a moment’s respite from the perpetual stereotypes of being a woman in China.
Qiao Yi's parents no longer urged her to get married after her father's short stay in Shanghai.

Chinese single women ponder love, marriage and freedom

They are well-educated and economically independent with broad interests — and they are not getting married. Why do women account for the majority of singles in China's big cities? What are their thoughts on marriage and love? Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing explores the world of single women in China.
Visitors walk on the Bund in Shanghai, China, on 21 December 2020. China’s central bank is striking out on its own with signals of tighter monetary policy, widening a divergence with other large economies that will shape global capital and trade flows next year. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

How China’s dual circulation strategy will affect the world economy

In May this year, China’s leaders proposed a new dual circulation strategy featuring both domestic and international circulation, with emphasis on the former. Associate Professor Gu Qingyang of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) notes how this new strategy will complement the current global economic system, and how it will affect the rest of the world.