Comic artist Bai Yi's artwork gives a glimpse into a dystopian world where individual lives are considered insignificant before the all-powerful and all-important state machine, and where herculean efforts are needed to uphold the dignity of human lives.
Former journalist Jessie Tan muses over the phenomenon of those in need transitioning from begging on the streets to selling goods on Douyin. While the poor or disabled have been given a more dignified and effective source of income, this is just one aspect of the good that comes with social media and technology.
The Chinese Communist Party has yet to resolve in theory and in practice two great issues: the ever widening rich-poor divide and the question of capitalists’ place in a socialist market economy. This is why the slogan "common prosperity" caused widespread panic across the private sector when it was first put forth. How will the authorities prove that “the rich will never be robbed in order to help the poor”?
The Covid-19 pandemic has badly hit the Chinese economy, with ordinary folk bearing the brunt of the impact. Migrant workers and rural farmers have had to pivot to other fields to make ends meet, and even then the outlook is still grim. Can the authorities safeguard its efforts in poverty alleviation and rural revitalisation? Zaobao journalists Miao Zong-Han and Zeng Shi look into the issue.
While China’s market-based socialism with Chinese characteristics has lifted many out of poverty, creating the Chinese miracle, the ills of abiding by the “laws of the market” should be tackled and reined in. In the ever-evolving model of new socialism, a mechanism needs to be established that can raise and maintain a good standard of living in the absence of economic growth. This is so that people can transcend the pursuit of the material and live their lives with meaning and purpose.
Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that renowned financier George Soros has always been critical of China’s social system. While "the man who broke the Bank of England" has a keen eye for finance, Sun feels that Soros’s criticism of China’s “closed society” sheds light on his penchant for globalisation and dated means of making the wealthy wealthier.
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.
Art historian Chiang Hsun counts the ways that the hit Korean drama series Squid Game puts humanity to shame. The rich and powerful exploit the weaknesses of the poor while the ordinary man is given a choice but can’t help but choose the wrong choice each time. Life is one reckless gamble we willingly take, all for the chance of living a dream.
Over the past three decades, China has implemented and revised its labour regulations in an effort to progress its market economy. Despite the strengthening of labour protection, young migrant workers have fallen through the cracks. Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui believes that the labour reforms have led to the social phenomenon of “Sanhe legends” — youths who are caught in an employment cycle characterised by poor working conditions, low wages and a lack of stability.