Population

A Chinese flag flutters near people lining up to get tested at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site, amid Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing, China, 18 May 2022. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Why Xi Jinping's bold experiments with socialism are commendable

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.
Graduates attend a graduation ceremony at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 13 June 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

Record 10.76 million Chinese university graduates face bleak job market and struggling economy

With over ten million Chinese university students set to graduate this year, the competition for jobs will be more intense than ever, and it does not help that certain sectors are scaling back recruitments for various reasons. Can the potential mismatch of jobs and skills be rectified? And will the impact of youth employment difficulties spill over to other areas?
This file photo taken on 25 April 2021 shows a medical staff member taking care of a newborn baby in the paediatric ward of a hospital in Fuyang in China's eastern Anhui province. (AFP)

China wants to reverse its high abortion rate with pro-birth policies, and young women are not happy

As a result of the country’s now-abolished one-child policy and other factors, abortion has gained wide acceptance among women in China. A recent work plan by the national family planning unit stated its intention to “intervene” in abortions for unmarried women has sparked backlash that women would lose their reproductive autonomy. Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong speaks with researchers and Chinese women to understand the policy implications on women’s rights and how the issue will impact China’s shrinking birth rate.
This file handout picture taken and released on 17 December 2019 by the Indonesian Presidential Palace shows Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (left) during his visit to North Penajam Paser district near Sepaku in East Kalimantan, where the government plans to build its new capital city replacing Jakarta. (Handout/Indonesian Presidential Palace/AFP)

Jokowi's plan for Indonesia's new capital: Who benefits?

A law recently passed by the Jokowi government regarding the relocation of the nation's capital to East Kalimantan has generated much controversy. ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata notes that while there are objections relating to the conservation and ecology in Kalimantan, greater protests are coming from the anti-Jokowi camp that believe only a handful of wealthy people will benefit, and fear that the new capital will be controlled by foreign countries, especially China. Jokowi is in a race against time to move the capital before the next election.
Children play with an ice sculpture of three astronauts in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, on 28 December 2021. (AFP)

Why extended maternity leave will not encourage childbirth in China

Li Jingkui explains that having children is very much an economic decision with hard choices involved, particularly for women. Research has shown that women’s chances of gaining employment after bearing their first child fall by 6.6%, and by another 9.3% after the second child. The government believes that an extended maternity leave policy will aid women and increase the nation’s fertility rate, but the reality may be much to the contrary.
As Taiwan is set to become a super-aged society in 2025, what is the plight of the elderly destitute in an ageing Taiwan?

Growing old alone: Elderly poor want better housing, better care in Taiwan

Taiwan is set to become a super-aged society in 2025. At present, a considerable proportion of its elderly face poor living conditions, with 430,000 living in old residential buildings without elevator access. There is also a sizeable number of elderly folk who are homeless and living on the streets. What are the authorities doing to meet the living needs of the elderly and provide them with support? How are community groups playing a role?
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.
People wearing protective masks visit a main shopping area in Shanghai, China, 21 January 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China becoming the biggest economy in ten years is not a given 

Analysts predict that China will overtake the US as the world’s leading economy in the next decade, but external military conflicts and internal struggles could thwart the Asian giant's ambitions. Political commentator Zhou Nongjian has the details.
Junior high students wearing face masks attend a class in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, 16 March 2020. (cnsphoto via Reuters)

Tuition lessons as cheap as 'cabbage', but Chinese parents and teachers are unhappy

The “double reduction” policy was launched last year to ease students’ workload and pricing guidelines were introduced to prevent service providers from charging exorbitant prices. Not only has this caused many tutoring institutions to close down, but parents fear that they will now have nowhere to turn to for quality lessons that their child still needs for the rat race. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing reports.