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Students attend a flag-raising ceremony during the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on 1 September 2021. (STR/AFP)

Parents and teachers brace themselves for China's new school year under the 'double reduction' policy

Since September, primary and secondary schools across China have started to implement the “double reduction” policy. Among other measures, primary one and two students no longer have written homework or paper-based exams, while primary three to six students will have their written homework load significantly reduced. These measures are changing up the education ecosystem with students, parents, tutoring companies, teachers and schools all having to adjust. At the back of everyone’s minds is the thought that the rules have changed but competition has not gone away. What are some of their concerns and how will they cope?
A woman walks past a store of German fashion house Hugo Boss in Beijing, China, 27 March 2021. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

China's crackdown on pretty boys and temple temptresses: Why are Chinese women feeling targeted?

The Chinese authorities are not just clamping down on celebrities for their excesses or “unhealthy’ fandoms, but setting the ground rules for media portrayals of gender norms of appearance and behaviour. In particular, the "effeminate aesthetics" of male celebrities and female influencers marketing themselves in Chinese temples have come under attack. But why are Chinese women feeling targeted? Are these necessary actions to moderate the internet economy or just signs of an over-the-top paternalistic bent?
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.
A woman cries as she and other people gather at Evergrande's headquarters in Shenzhen, China, on 16 September 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Will the Chinese government save Evergrande?

While retail investors and observers fear that Evergrande’s fall from grace will trigger a subprime mortgage crisis in China, the Chinese authorities seem quite comfortable letting Evergrande cover its own losses, despite the short-term instability foreseen. Han Yong Hong explains why.
The Alibaba Group signage is seen during the company's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at their headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 11 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

After reining in the tutoring sector, will the Chinese government target internet titans next?

With the Chinese government’s recent big crackdown on the education sector, some people are concerned that other internet platforms such as Alibaba and Meituan might be next. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi explains why it is unlikely that Chinese internet titans will be hit as hard.
A young girl sits on her father's shoulders outside a shopping mall in Beijing, China, on 1 June 2021. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Building a moral and prosperous Chinese society: Prelude to a social revolution in China?

Following the Chinese government's crackdown on big capital, China has recently announced its ambition to achieve "common prosperity" and wealth redistribution, with a strong emphasis on fairer income and good morals across society. Chinese internet giant Tencent responded immediately by investing 50 billion RMB (S$10.5 billion) to help promote the new initiative. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong asks: "Is this the prelude to a social revolution?"
Kris Wu arrives at the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards (MMVA) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 26 August 2018. (Mark Blinch/File Photo/Reuters)

Kris Wu’s downfall and the dark side of big capital

Kris Wu has been detained by the police in Beijing. His social media accounts are deleted from Chinese social media platforms, wiping out the star's online presence. While this is not the first time Wu is embroiled in sex scandals, it is the first time he is detained. Who are the benefactors and financial powers behind China's top celebrities like Wu? And what does this mean for China's crackdown on big capital?
A woman walks past a sign of the Financial Street in Beijing, China, 9 July 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Why China is cracking down on big capital

It is not new for the evils of capitalism to be criticised in China. But the recent crackdowns on whole sectors, be it tech, tuition centres, or online gaming, has businesses wondering what just hit them. Is this the state’s way of showing who’s boss, and how will China’s economic vibrance be affected?
Cryptocurrency representations are seen in front of an image of the Chinese flag in this illustration picture taken 2 June 2021. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies: Trade-offs between stability and innovation

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies has increased the volatility of the market, not least with bitcoin miners fleeing and the price of bitcoin plummeting. What are the reasons behind China’s regulatory clampdowns and will other countries follow suit?