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Villas in Huaxi Village, once known as the "richest village in China", 2008. (SPH)

Huaxi Village: The rise and fall of the "richest village in China"

Huaxi Village was once known as the “richest village in China”, with stories of prosperity and luxury. But a recent video of people queuing in the rain to reclaim and cash out their investments seems to point to a very different reality. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing finds out more.
"Happy New Year."

[Comic] Chinese New Year: Don't you want to go home?

For many Chinese, Chinese New Year is a time of warmth and mirth with family and friends, surrounded by delicious goodies, fun and laughter. This year, because of Covid-19, millions across China have not been able to make the trip home because of travel restrictions imposed after a fresh round of coronavirus cases. In fact, the past year has been less than kind to the world in general. How have we responded as individuals? What do we remember, and what would we rather not think about? In this Chinese New Year period, comic artist Bai Yi reminds us to give ourselves credit for making it through another year.
Chiang Hsun's father riding a horse. (Photo provided by Chiang Hsun)

Taiwanese art historian: What my father taught me

Born in Fujian province in the Republic of China era in the early 20th century, Chiang Hsun’s father was strict and upright to a fault. He left home to join the army at only 14, then meandered across towns and cities, before landing up in Taiwan via the Matsu Islands. Self-disciplined as he was, he let his mind roam free in the books he devoured and in traipsing across the land. As a child, Chiang felt distanced from his austere father. Now, retracing his father’s steps of adventure, he feels close to him at last.
People walk under traditional Chinese lanterns along an alley in Beijing on 9 February 2021, ahead the biggest holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year, which ushers in the Year of the Ox on 12 February. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's massive north-south gap in the cultural and economic realms

Audience ratings of the CCTV New Year’s Gala give quite an accurate reflection of north-south divides, which judging by the latest economic information, are still very relevant in China today. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu casts a keen eye on the data.
A bald winter tree along the river. (Facebook/蔣勳)

Taiwanese art historian: How should I meet my mother in the afterlife — as a child, an adult or an old man?

Time passes but our memories stand still. If all we want in life is to be understood, how lucky we are if we have someone to see us through our many faces and phases. Even if we part, if we see with our hearts, muses Chiang Hsun, we’re sure to recognise each other when we meet again.
A wheat field in Chishang Township, Taitung County. (Facebook/蔣勳)

Taiwanese art historian: My mother waited for her soldier husband to return from war, just like Wang Baochuan

In today’s era, we get instant gratification through a swipe of the phone or a flick of the switch. Could we have done what Tang dynasty wife Wang Baochuan did and waited 18 long years — without phone, wifi or video apps — for her husband Xue Pinggui to return home? Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun knows his army wife mother could. It was she who taught him about “Baochuan vegetables”: the stubborn weed of Taiwanese purslane that won’t be stamped out; the pure love that asks for neither company nor reward.
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.
Paramilitary police officers wearing face masks march outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Heritage, CCP traditions & liberalism: Three fundamentals of China's new social contract

Lance Gore firmly believes that the social contract between government and people is seeing a radical upheaval around the world. In China’s case, a new social contract will be shaped by the triumvirate of Chinese culture and heritage, the traditions of the CCP, and the influence of liberal ideals. Only the strengths of each should be retained, while the shortcomings be discarded.