China

In China, Women Still Have To Fight For Their Right To Be Single

A stand-up comedian in China recently used the term "single panic" to describe fears among women about being alone, and the words have since resonated in online discussions.

The "panic" is a product, the female comedian pointed out, of pressure and prejudices in Chinese society against single women. The only way for single women to be regarded as "not that miserable," the entertainer joked, is to live a more glamorous life than a married woman. "But even then, people will still say, 'look, she lives in such a big house and there's not even a man in it.'"

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''Seditious'' Sheep? Inside Hong Kong's Crackdown On Children's Books

Hong Kong’s national security police recently arrested five people over the publication of children’s books featuring sheep, which it says represent Hong Kongers, attacking wolves, allegedly standing for mainlanders.

The Hong Kong National Security Police was on the move again last week, although this time the surprising target was a series of children's stories.

On July 22, authorities arrested five people over conspiring to publish seditious publications. The accused, all relatively young (between the ages of 25 and 28), are members of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists, as Hong Kong-based media The Initium reports. The operation against them marks the first time the National Security Law has been used to target stories directed at children.

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Why Chinese Youth Are Still So Eager To Join The Communist Party

BEIJING — "Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to join the party..." Yanru, a 22-year-old university student studying at a well-known university in northern China, just became a CCP member last year. For her and her peers, joining the Chinese Communist Party is something that just seems natural: "It has led us to victories, fought back the foreign colonists, and built up the strong and prosperous new China today."

For Yanru, the purpose of joining the party is to serve the society, and to be useful for the country. "There is only one correct motive for joining the party, that is to serve the people with full hearts, and to eventually fully achieve communism," she wrote in her membership application letter.

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For Chinese Regime, Suicide In Hong Kong Is An Act Of Terrorism

If someone is unhappy, that's one thing. But if a city is unhappy, that means something very different.

-Analysis-

HONG KONG — On the evening of July 1, outside the Sogo Department Store in Hong Kong, Leung Kin-fai stabbed a police officer from behind with a knife and later killed himself. The incident was described as a "local lone wolf terrorist attack" by authorities. According to Ming Pao, a local newspaper, Leung, a man in his 50s, had no accomplices and wrote a suicide note before the murder, mentioning his dissatisfaction with society and criticizing the brutality of police, who he said harbor criminals and are not subject to checks and balances. Further, he expressed his belief that "freedom has been lost" after the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law. The police have not yet released the full contents of the suicide note.

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Society

China's New Crackdown Against LGBTQ Activists At Universities

Reports have come in from LGBTQ activists around the country that the government has shut down the organizations pages on WeChat, the top Chinese platform.

SHANGHAI — On July 6th, when the day was finishing for most Chinese university students, a pop-up notification began to appear on the phones of certain campus LGBTQ activists: "The Wechat account that you are managing is permanently blocked."

He Zhang is the founder of Z Society, a Shanghai-based student academic hub that focuses on gender issues, with more than 70,000 followers on its official account. Suddenly, the page was all blank. " I knew this day would come sooner or later, but I never thought it was going to be so soon."

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Economy
Yang Lu

Regional Disparity Trap: Why China’s Economy Resembles Europe

The Northeast is the Chinese equivalent to Greece ...

Professor Lu Ming of Shanghai Jiaotong University was the first to refer to the sharp differences within China as the "Europeanization" (or Eurozoneization) of the Chinese economy.

The Eurozone consists of 19 European countries with a unified market and a single currency, but with large differences in productivity between them. This, of course, has many advantages, such as promoting the internal common market, reducing transaction costs and so on. However, the smooth operation of the Eurozone depends on whether its members have similar levels of productivity or public debt. If they aren't, it will create a divergence in interests between the "core" countries with high productivity and low debt and the "peripheral" countries with low productivity and high debt.

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Society
Jinyan Yang

As China's Communist Party Turns 100, ''Red Tourism'' Is Booming

Zunyi, in the mountainous province of Guizhou, is chock full of communist-themed museums and memorials, and is attracting especially large crowds this year.

ZUNYI — The deep blue Wu River runs near the city of Zunyi, in mountainous central China, and on one side, large red characters spell out the words: "It would have been dangerous if we hadn't been able to cross."

This distinctive slogan harkens back to an historical event. In early January 1935, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), founded just 14 years earlier, led the Red Army across the Wu and won its first victory on the Long March, breaking through the Kuomintang (Nationalist Government) blockade and setting the stage for the crucial and transformative conference where Mao Zedong would be chosen as the party leader.

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Society
Tse Tsz Fung

Death Of Apple Daily, What It Really Means For Hong Kong

Was this the last media ready to take on the regime in Bejing?

HONG KONG — After the National Security Police raid on its headquarters on June 17, Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy paper, Apple Daily, had announced its closure and published its final edition on Thursday, ending its 26 years of publication. But what exactly does the death of Apple Daily mean?

First, some history: Ever since its creation in 1995, it is the first full color paper in Hong Kong, and the only high-profile paper that published political dissent. Achieving commercial success with erotic entertainment content in its early days, Apple Daily has become the third most credible newspaper in Hong Kong by gaining public recognition with its firm stance against the total regime. Its final chapter has brought about a sharp narrowing of Hong Kong's mainstream discourse toward a moderate middle ground, where political dissent has been shut out of the public discussion.

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Society
Sze Ngai Lam

Chinese Millennials Defend Their ''Lying-Flat'' Doctrine

With real estate prices high and job prospects low, a growing number of young Chinese say they choose to both work and spend less in order to escape the pressures of contemporary life.

It's called the "lying flat" doctrine, increasingly popular among young people in China who choose to both work and spend less as ways to lighten the pressures of contemporary life. Recently, a professor from Tsing Hua University criticized this approach, and chastised the youth for letting down their parents and the country's "hard-working taxpayers."

BEIJING — On May 26, an internet user going by the name "Lying Flat Master" posted an article titled "Lying Flat is Justice" on the Chinese social media Baidu. This post of just over 200 words set off a heated discussion in the Chinese online world.

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Ideas
Dan Wu

Science, Rice And Propaganda: On The Legacy Of Yuan Longping

He helped develop a hybrid rice that tackled hunger in his country and beyond, and when Yuan died last month both the Chinese Communist Party and young people wrestled with the many meanings of his life.

-Analysis-

"I feel as sad as if it was my own grandpa who died." This was one of the many emotional comments that have flooded Chinese social media Weibo since the May 22 death of Chinese agriculturist Yuan Longping, also known as "the father of hybrid rice." The kind of collective mourning for the 90-year-old scientist, both from the state apparatus that called him a "national scholar of no equal" and a spontaneous public outpouring on and offline, was quite unusual for contemporary China. How did a man who divided his time between rice farms and science labs provoke such a reaction across this nation of 1.4 billion people?

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Geopolitics
Chang Xi

WeChat Or Chinese Journalists: Who Is Doing China's Bidding Abroad?

Beginning last month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has tightened access to media visas for any journalist holding a Chinese passport. The validity period of each visa delivered will be shortened to 90 days, instead of being unlimited as before. Journalists who are citizens of Hong Kong or the Macao Special Administrative Region are not subject to this restriction.

This is Washington's second major policy change around media visas this year. Last February, the State Department designated Chinese state media, including the Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network (CGTN), China Radio International, China Daily and People's Daily as "foreign missions," setting a cap on the number of their personnel.

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Future
Qin Peipei

Helping China's Elderly Catch Up With Our Information Age

BEIJING — A video is making the rounds across China's internet. On a bus in the western city of Xi'an, an elderly man is seen shouting at a pregnant woman that she should give up her seat. "I am an old person! Can't you see?" His attitude was so appalling that commentators online came down clearly in favor of the pregnant lady rather than the old man.

Still, we sometimes forget that utter respect for the old used to be a Chinese tradition. There have been some high-profile incidents in recent years of conflict caused by indignant elderly. Sometimes old people have gone as far as slapping youngsters because they were too slow to give up their seats. Far more extreme is the case of a retired prosecutor deliberately driving into a student on campus just because he wanted to have his revenge on the youth in society.

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China's Entrepreneurs
Zhang Wenyang

Why Chinese Are Choosing Europe To Invest In Real Estate

BEIJING Yang Ke works for a high-tech company in Shenzhen on the southeast coast of China. Thanks to a few years spent abroad, he has saved up a considerable amount of money and is looking to invest it in foreign real estate. After intensive discussions with real estate agents, he decided that property in America is too pricey, and settled on Europe as the best option.

There is a rising affluent class in China who are making a similar choice as Yang — their savings are not sufficient for buying China's astronomically expensive properties in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou. Meanwhile, keeping the money sitting in a bank account is also a bad deal. So ... Europe.

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Ideas
Dominique Moisi

China, Deconstructing Xi Jinping's Imperial Temptation

By becoming president for life, Xi Jinping is bringing China back to its imperial history, taking advantage of the exceptional development of his country but also of America's mistakes. But Chinese coming fortunes are still very much up in the air.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton's famous remark comes quickly to mind after China's decision to remove term limits for its president. From now on Xi Jinping can be considered "president for life."

In a democracy, the more personalized a regime is, the more fragile it tends to become. But does this warning also apply to authoritarian regimes? Isn't China's "institutional revolution" simply the product of an inevitable evolution that reinforces — as the Chinese would say — a harmonious mix of centralization, and thus of additional rationality?

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Society
Chen Bai

A Virtual Frog Video Game And China's One-Child Mindset

BEIJING — An online game from Japan has become a hopping success in China. Unheard of until recently, Tabikaeru: Travel Frog — developed by the Japanese company Hit-Point — is suddenly all the rage, leapfrogging the competition to become the most popular free online game in China's Apple App Store.

Travel Frog requires little of the player — a good thing, perhaps, since it hasn't even been translated officially into Mandarin. And yet, people can't seem to get enough of it. As the name suggests, the game features a virtual frog, who either stays at home and reads the whole day, or goes off on an adventure. Players have no way of knowing when the frog will return, although if they're lucky, they'll get a postcard from some scenic site, or a souvenir when the adventurous amphibian finally comes home.

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Geopolitics
Cyrille Pluyette

In China's Crackdown On Religions, Buddhism Gets A Pass

President Xi Jinping demands 'inflexible atheism' from his fellow Communist Party members. But he also has a soft spot for Buddhism, sources suggest.

ZHENGDING — Dozens of Chinese tourists eat their picnics in the shadow of the majestic Linji Temple pagoda, the birthplace of one of the most famous branches of Buddhism. The monument, with its finely carved gray bricks, contains the relics of the founder of the school, which dates back to the ninth century during the Tang dynasty.

Circulating in the alleys lined with cypresses, bamboos and tropical plants with red flowers, visitors walk through the temple's dormitories and refectory before gathering in a prayer room in front of golden buddhas. From there they enter the former home — now a museum — of the venerable monk Shi Youming, who ran the place of worship until his death in 2010. Objects that belonged to the Zen master are exhibited in showcases, as well as old photos from the temple before its restoration in the early 1980s.

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