Urbanisation

Yao Jianhua, one of the few old Beijingers who is still living in a hutong. (Photo: Li Shanyi)

[Video] The last few guardians of Beijing's hutong culture

While hutongs are a unique historical sight in Beijing, they are quickly disappearing as people move out and relocate to government housing with modern amenities. Those who remain are generally the older generation, while the look and function of hutongs is also changing. How much longer will hutongs last?
Workers are seen at the construction site of a newly-built shopping centre in Beijing, China, on 30 May 2023. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Time is running out for China to take care of its ageing migrant workers

China’s first-generation of migrant workers who joined the labour force in the 1980s and 1990s will reach their sixties over the next decade. Despite the number of working years under their belt, they could be left financially worse for wear once they reach retirement. How should the officials ensure this generation of workers have enough to support themselves when the time comes? Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk tells us more.
This picture shows workers on a construction site in Shenmu, Shaanxi province, China, on 24 April 2023. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

China’s housing downturn: Household registration reform needed

In China, policy easing in real estate continues even as calls for greater stimulus packages get louder. But to address the nub of the property downturn, says PIIE researcher Tianlei Huang, long-term challenges such as supply-demand imbalances and the discriminatory household registration system should be addressed.
This picture taken on 11 March 2023 shows people riding in a trishaw in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP)

From Borneo to Penang: Preserving our culture and language for future generations

If languages and cultural practices are disappearing fast in the indigenous communities of Borneo to the Chinese community in Penang and elsewhere, can digital technology and AI play a bigger role to document pieces of our identity that can be preserved beyond time and space?
Tenants living in Baimang started getting eviction notices in mid-May.

Why Shenzhen's plan to transform 'urban villages' is causing distress

Urban villages are a historical product of Shenzhen’s urbanisation process. Today, local governments may have good intentions in implementing “centralised leasing” (统租) and upgrading work, but existing tenants may feel they are being shortchanged. Daryl Lim looks into the matter.
Two women and their babies pose for photographs in front of the giant portrait of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong on the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China, 2 November 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/Reuters)

From Mao ideals to the American dream: What China's 'sent down youths' sacrificed to chase a better tomorrow

The post-50s Chinese generation of intellectuals who were heavily influenced by Mao had the practice of leaving their children behind as they single-mindedly sought to achieve success abroad. US academic Wu Guo remarks that this generation of people who had been sent down to the rural areas, travelled abroad, and finally gained a foothold and settled down in the US, have always been motivated by a religious zeal for chasing a dream.
Cooperatives seem to be making a return in China, like this one in Heilongjiang. (Internet)

Cooperatives are making a comeback. Is China preparing for combat and famine?

Cooperatives that used to manage agricultural and other daily resources in China faded away during China's reform and opening up, but recently, they were highlighted again by the state media and promoted in various regions. Chinese people are concerned if this means that the government is going to further tighten its grip on the economy or that China is preparing for the likelihood of containment and even war?
This photo taken on 13 July 2022, shows a housing complex under construction in Dongguan, in China's southern Guangdong province. (Jade Gao/AFP)

China’s overreliance on land finance could lead to its downfall

Retired economist Zeng Yongchang shares his views on China’s land finance policies — while quick and efficient, land finance is unsustainable, as evidenced by the widening inequality, intensifying social conflicts and dire economic situation.
An unrenovated toilet in Dongcheng district, Beijing, 6 December 2021. (SPH Media/Meng Dandan)

Beijing’s hutong toilet revolution: Giving toilet users some dignity

Beijing’s old alleyways or hutongs are known for their historical value and they have undergone renovations over the past few years. But one aspect that is still a work in progress is the provision of public toilets in these areas, which can be in poor condition. The latest phase of the “toilet revolution” focuses on building facilities fit for purpose and for their users to have a mindset change. A tall order? Meng Dandan finds out.