Morals

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks by a graffiti painted wall in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City, US, 11 May 2023. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Vast difference in expectations of local governments in the US and in China

Wu Guo notes that local governments in the US are rarely intrusive in the lives of residents, often getting involved only in matters of taxation, public environment and public health. But corruption and dereliction of duty does exist too, and Chinese immigrants may miss that if they do not cast off their utopian blinkers.
Taiwanese host Mickey Huang is facing sexual assault allegations amid a #MeToo wave sweeping across Taiwan. (CNS)

#MeToo in Taiwan: Why public opinion matters

While it is easy for public commentators to lash out at perpetrators and victims alike in #MeToo cases, the psychological factors behind each case are complex. Would angry bashing tamp down our empathy for the afflicted in rooting out the underlaying issues behind sexual assault?
People visit a business street during the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing on 25 January 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Can China become a more relaxed society?

Consultant Ma Haotian notes that recent and past cases of celebrities getting banned for various transgressions show that morality in China can be taken to the extreme to exert control over people. He urges moderation and adjusting the so-called rules and standards of behaviour according to the times, so that people can act with more freedom and autonomy.
Demonstrators during a national walk out in support of abortion rights at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, US, on 5 May 2022. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg)

Do Gen Z Americans hold the key to improving China-US relations?

American youths today are dealing with more issues and turmoil than their previous generations. US academic Wu Guo believes that the culmination of terrorist attacks, financial crises, social injustice and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have led to a generation that is more politically, socially and environmentally aware. These challenges and experiences could be a path for Americans to connect with the world outside of the US, in particular with China.
Visitors rest on benches at a People's Liberation Army Flag Guard barrack near the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, on 3 March 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

The curse of political correctness in China and the US

How the China-US conflict will end very much depends on the vociferous court of public opinion of each country. At the moment, political correct views are being spewed on both sides. Such behaviour shows a common human weakness to demonise the other and threaten to keep both sides locked in a vortex of vitriol. East Asia Institute academic Lance Gore implores the people of both countries to keep their senses and adhere to their better judgement. In particular, China should be clear-eyed that the combined strength of the US and its allies exceeds any level China may attain in the foreseeable future and act accordingly.
Based on the photo in this marriage certificate, the appearance and age of the woman the authorities initially identified as 'surnamed Yang' did not match the footage of the chained woman circulated online. (Weibo)

‘The world has abandoned me’: Chinese women married into slavery?

Chinese academic Lorna Wei says that the authorities’ determination to root out human trafficking may waver, but netizens’ voices speaking up for the victims — often women married off into other counties — will not be silenced. This may be the only comfort that countless women suffering alone can take solace in.
The Chinese national flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, on 4 February 2022. (Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP)

Can socialist China change society's value orientation and triumph over the ills of capitalism?

An overhaul in its social value orientation is needed if China is to tackle the pressures on employment and social structures that the digital economy, artificial intelligence and smart automation will bring. Essentially, it should root out casino capitalism and the related social ills of “winner takes all”, “get rich quick”, “lying flat” and envy that have seeped into society. The Chinese Communist Party is making an effort but it will not be easy to abandon a purely material approach and prize other values that will raise the quality of life and elevate a civilisation.
Commuters ride on a subway in Beijing, China, on 16 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

A Singaporean in China: Bumping into kind souls on buses and trains

On her frequent explorations of the city with her son in tow, former journalist Jessie Tan now based in Beijing is grateful for the little kindnesses shown to her by fellow commuters. She did not know what to expect when she first arrived in the city, and truth be told, there were some preconceived notions, but a year’s worth of help from strangers has her convinced that she walks the streets of a civilised city.
A barber cuts a man's hair along a road in Beijing, China, on 7 December 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

How being a good Samaritan can ‘spoil the market’

While some businessmen have good intentions in offering goods and services at lower prices, they could also be “spoiling the market” and making it harder for others to make a living. Such actions may invite backlash, whether in village scuffles, or writ large, protests and anti-dumping measures between countries. China, the world’s factory, has borne the brunt of such pushback. Industries in other countries are affected, as capital moves freely between borders but labour stays in place. Those who feel they are losing out may hold grudges and end up dealing a big blow to society.