Social responsibility

A passenger wearing protective gear is seen at a train station in Beijing, China, on 28 December 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Three years of Covid-19 exposes chronic political and social problems in China

China’s sudden opening up has taken many by surprise, and it seems that it was not just the people who were unprepared — the government itself appeared not to have planned for the aftermath of lifting all measures, leading to a shortage of medicine and vaccines, and a squeeze on healthcare resources. If anything, the three years of Covid-19 have highlighted the shortcomings of China’s political system. Chinese college student Anthony Shen shares his thoughts.
Richard Liu Qiangdong, founder of JD.com. (JD.com website)

Salary cuts for senior managers: Is JD.com founder Richard Liu championing ‘common prosperity’?

JD.com founder Richard Liu has been in the news lately following an announcement that the company is set to improve social benefits for rank-and-file employees, while cutting salaries for senior management. While it seems to kill many birds with one stone, is this a long term solution for private firms?
A worker padlocks fencing securing a residential area under Covid-19 lockdown in the Xuhui district of Shanghai, China, on 8 June 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Post-lockdown Shanghai is as tense as ever

Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing observes that while the lockdown in Shanghai has been lifted, people are still nervous that the sporadic Covid-19 cases could trigger another lockdown. Regulations remain strict and prohibitive, so people are hesitant to say that things have returned back to normal. Furthermore, with the 20th Party Congress coming up, Shanghai’s situation will be a bellwether for the country’s economic recovery.
People line up to take nucleic acid tests at a testing site outside a hospital following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China, 17 January 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China needs to break free of its zero-Covid policy. Here's how.

With its dogged implementation of the zero-Covid policy, China has painted itself into a corner and is now saddled with four shackles that prevent it from changing course. Lu Xi explains the factors involved and suggests how China may slowly begin to extricate itself from its predicament.
People walk past a showroom outside Tesla China headquarters at China Central Mall in Beijing, China, 11 July 2018. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

Tesla’s choice on Xinjiang: Will the benefits be enough to offset the costs?

The US’s recently enacted Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act prohibits the import of Xinjiang-produced goods, leaving US companies in a bind. In response, Walmart and Tesla have taken different approaches. While Sam’s Club under Walmart removed Xinjiang products, drawing the ire of Chinese consumers, Tesla gained cheers for opening a new showroom in Urumqi. Will US companies be forced to choose sides? Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks into the matter.
Supporters of Taiwan's main opposition party The Kuomintang (KMT) join the annual Autumn Struggle labor protest, focusing on its opposition to the government's decision to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, an additive that enhances leanness, and other issues related to the referendum in Taipei, Taiwan, 12 December 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Kuomintang the biggest loser of Taiwan’s four-question referendum?

As the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wished, the four-question referendum held in Taiwan on 18 December — regarding the building of a third LNG plant near an algal reef, the restarting of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, pork imports, and timing of referendums — was not passed. However, they should not be too happy yet, says Chen I-hsin. Recent exposés on party members, not least on President Tsai Ing-wen herself, are draining support from the party. And though the KMT did not achieve enough “yes” votes in the referendums, if they learn from it, they could still make gains in upcoming elections.
People walk past a Canada Goose store in Beijing, China, 2 December 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Canada Goose: Why Western brands are not open to returns in China

Commentator Chip Tsao notes that even as Chinese consumers are unhappy about perceived differential treatment by Western high-end brands in terms of returns and refunds, this is due in some part to their penchant for buying items and then easily changing their minds, or returning them after only using them once, perhaps just for selfies for social media. Not to mention the possibility of consumers’ irrational nationalism kicking in and the high costs of processing returns, it’s no wonder that brands are thinking twice before offering returns.
An elderly man rides a sharing bicycle with his dog in a basket along a road in Beijing, China, on 23 September 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

When a dog of the privileged class in China bites a commoner

In the face of surveillance camera footage showing pet dogs biting an 80-year-old lady, it should have been an open-and-shut case. But one such “dog-bites-man” incident in Anyang dragged on for more than two months. The pet owner was believed to be a person of power, and only increasing attention on the case led to an eventual apology. Why did it take so long for someone to do the right thing?
A woman walks with an umbrella amid rainfall in Shanghai, China, 13 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why China needs to set its own house in order with a regulatory spurt

China has introduced a wave of strong regulatory moves on various industries over the past months, alarming international observers and causing jitters in the financial market. However, says academic Gu Qingyang, these moves could be necessary and might just set China in the right direction to face future challenges better.