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?
Since the start of this year, hordes of parents have descended on the Chongqing People’s Park matchmaking corner every weekend to find a potential mate for their children. Many parents there lament that the matchmaking corner is like a “hypermarket” where parents try to “outmanoeuvre” each other. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong believes that it is also a microcosm of the socioeconomic divide in China.
With pension funds slowly depleting, Chinese officials are looking to increase the statutory retirement age to alleviate the pressure on government coffers, increase pension contributions and resolve labour shortages. However, Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that the policy is facing resistance from those nearing retirement as well as the younger generation.
Following the recent report on China’s shrinking population, Zaobao’s correspondent Wong Siew Fong takes a closer look at how this might affect China’s education system, and what the authorities will have to do to mitigate these effects, in terms of planning ahead and being proactive rather than reactive.
Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Peter Ong looks into why Asian countries are facing a declining population, especially those that have witnessed successful economic transformation. What social conditions have led to the staggeringly low birth rates? And is migration a solution?
Population decline can actually bring multiple dividends, contrary to popular belief, says East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore. Instead of looking for solutions to economic crises and population decline that are capitalist in nature and do not address the root causes, this is an opportunity to explore how socialism in China can deliver solutions that turn crisis into opportunity.
Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai ruminates on ageing and what goes on inside and out as one inevitably moves into the twilight of life, not least the obvious signs of failing eyesight. Where once it was a joy to read The Water Margin and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, now the spirit is willing but the eyes are weak.
The latest announcement of China’s first population drop in six decades has gained much attention, with concerns over the long-term implications for the economy and the community. How will this affect China’s GDP and its aim to overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy? Can China reverse the population trend?
Technology expert Yin Ruizhi believes that the advent of AI-enabled ChatGPT might be a solution to the ageing populations in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and China, as humans are freed from jobs that ChatGPT can handle.