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Ke Huanzhang (left) and Liu Thai Ker are veteran urban planners in China and Singapore. (SPH)

Liu Thai Ker and Ke Huanzhang: Urban planners are servants of the city

How do urban planners go about their work and what contributions do they make to the building of liveable cities? Ke Huanzhang, former head of the Beijing Academy of Urban Planning and Design, is all for the seamless melding of a good ecological environment, living facilities, jobs and public services in a city. Liu Thai Ker, the former chief architect and CEO of Singapore’s Housing Development Board, says a good planner needs to have the heart of a humanist, the brain of a scientist, and the eye of an artist. Tan Ying Zhen speaks to the veteran urban planners as part of a series of fireside chats put together to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China.
Salmon has been taken off the shelves at a supermarket in Fengtai District, Beijing, 13 June 2020. (Zhang Yu/CNS)

Beijing's wholesale market cluster sparks fear of a repeat of Wuhan's ordeal

After largely bringing the coronavirus under control, and keeping Beijing out of the fray, China is facing the possibility of a fresh outbreak, this time focused on a cluster involving the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing. That the coronavirus was found on a chopping board for cutting imported salmon has sparked much debate about transmission via salmon, and the prospect of a second wave of Covid-19. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu weighs up how Beijing will tackle the problem.
A woman cycles past a screen showing a news conference by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the closing session of the National People's Congress, in Beijing, China, on 28 May 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

600 million Chinese earn 1,000 RMB a month — so are the Chinese rich or poor?

Zaobao's Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu often marvels at the spending power of Chinese white-collar workers around her, and she too was surprised when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang remarked that China has 600 million people with a monthly income of 1,000 RMB. That is more than 40% of the Chinese population, and the figures portray a reality that is starkly different from common perception. Are Chinese people moving up the income ladder and are their lives becoming better as is the common refrain? Yang examines the facts.
Tan Kah Kee (L) and Aw Boon Haw made major contributions to China's resistance efforts during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Tan Kah Kee, Aw Boon Haw and the Second Sino-Japanese War [Photo story]

When Japan attacked China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia made contributions to China’s war efforts. Among the most prominent community leaders were Tan Kah Kee and Aw Boon Haw, who corralled donations and made separate visits to Chongqing. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao takes us back to that period and shows us the atrocities of war and the indomitable human spirit reflected in old photos.
Barrier tape cordons off parts of benches to enforce safe distancing measures along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong, on 21 April 2020. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Beijing tightens control over Hong Kong amid political reshuffle and arrests

Seeing that stalwarts have kept their positions while new blood comes in the form of those who have law enforcement or political experience, pundits wager that Beijing may take a more hardline approach in the days to come.
People wearing face masks sit outside Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in hopes of taking one of the first trains leaving the city early on 8 April 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Would Fang Fang’s English-translated Wuhan diary become ammunition for anti-Chinese forces?

Yang Danxu notes that netizens are making mountains out of molehills and imposing their judgements on others. She points out the danger of politicising issues to the point that no one feels free to even make innocuous comments about the weather.
Police officers at a street crossing in Beijing, April 7, 2020. Control measures in Beijing have not been relaxed yet. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Stability above all else: Beijing's control measures could stay for rest of year

Beijing’s control measures against the coronavirus outbreak look set to be in place for some time, perhaps for the rest of the year. With stricter rules for people moving in and out of China’s capital, residents and visitors will need to adjust to the new normal. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing finds out how ordinary people are affected.
In this photo taken on 23 February 2020, a woman wearing a protective facemask to protect against the Covid-19 coronavirus cycles in front of the Lama Temple that is closed off to the public in Beijing. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Safeguarding Beijing

Three cautionary warnings have been issued in the last six days by the Chinese government, calling on officials to pay special attention to containing Covid-19 in Beijing. Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu observes that the authorities' political survival is at stake if Beijing becomes severely affected by the coronavirus. All hands are on deck to ensure that this does not happen.
Fairgoers blowing bubbles at the Confucius Temple lantern display. The floating bubbles lend an air of fantasy to the scene.

[Chinese New Year Special] A bygone era: Chinese New Year celebrations during the time of the Republic of China

The Chinese calendar, based on observations of sun and moon, was chiefly used to mark agrarian time. With the dawn of the Republic of China in 1912, official calendars were reset to the Gregorian system. No matter that the start of the year was now 1 January, people’s lives were still much tied to the land. They welcomed the Spring Festival and Chinese New Year with relish, celebrating their well-earned rest from toil. Photo collector Hsu Chung-mao shares his precious images of celebrations in Beijing and Nanjing from a bygone era.