Laura Lin

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The topic of sanitary napkins has somehow gone viral in China
China

Wealth Inequality In China: Measured At Home And At School

After the topic of bulk sanitary napkins went viral online, the broader issue of the gap between rich and poor has come out of the shadows across the communist nation, including the availability of laptops for students.

-Editorial-

BEIJING — In the past few days, the topic of sanitary napkins has somehow gone viral in China. It all started with a screenshot posted of an online shopping platform displaying cheap, bulk sanitary napkins for female hygiene. Before the discussion was unleashed, few in China had ever heard the concept: "period poverty." For many, it even seems incomprehensible – isn't a pack of basic sanitary products just the price of a cup of tea? How can anyone not be able to afford it?

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People buying food at a snack street in Haikou
Coronavirus

In China, A Post-Pandemic City Model Built On Street Vendors

Chinese officials are realizing that the 'soul' of a city is key to strength and prosperity.

-Analysis-

CHENGDU — In order to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, authorities in China's western city of Chengdu have decided to temporarily allow impromptu stalls for food and other goods to be set up along local streets.

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Screen capture of Chan's Jan. 24 performance
Coronavirus

Jackie Chan Helps Lead China's COVID-19 Propaganda War

The COVID-19 propaganda war in and around China now includes a familiar face: There's only one Jackie!

The martial arts movie legend, who is a native of Hong Kong, has long since evolved into a fervent supporter and spokesman for the Communist regime on the mainland. Now critics of Beijing, both inside China as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, are taking shots at Chan for being a mouthpiece for the alleged cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak. Taipei-based daily Liberty Times reports criticism of Chan began spreading on the Chinese-language internet last week after a CCTV Jan. 24 televised performance reemerged of Chan surrounded by hundreds of dancers performing a patriotic song, in response to news around the world of coronavirus spreading in China. "Does my country look sick?", says one refrain of the elaborate song-and-dance routine aboard a massive (and crowded) cruise ship.

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People wearing masks walk in the street in Taipei, Taiwan.
Taiwan

Taiwan To France, Witness To The Global Contagion Of Chinese Lies

As a Taiwanese, even one who has lived abroad for years, her instinct is to distrust the Chinese regime. Others chose to ignore all the warnings.

-Essay-

PARIS — It was on January 8, after days of reading news about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, that I sent a message to a friend, in case she hadn't been following the news. She comes from that city in mainland China, but lives in Hong Kong. I warned her sternly not to travel back to Wuhan for the upcoming Chinese New Year, which was scheduled to begin two weeks later.

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A staff member distributes flowers at a cemetery in Jinan, in eastern China.
Coronavirus

New COVID-19 Risk: Annual Chinese “Tomb-Sweeping” Holiday

Authorities in China and Taiwan are worried that gatherings at cemeteries for the customary holiday to honor ancestors could spark another outbreak.

The Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, is an important annual rite for Chinese families to pay respect to departed loved ones — the cultural equivalent of the Christian holiday, All Souls Day. But as the country is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities are worried that the often crowded public occasion could spark new outbreaks.

Local governments have urged their citizens to review their usual plan on visiting cemeteries, and even consider an online alternative. To avoid mass gatherings while still allowing people to physically pay their respects, Shanghai has set up an online reservation system for its 54 cemeteries and all 160,000 slots have been booked for Saturday, reports Shanghai-ist.

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Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visits Wuhan this week.
Coronavirus

In Wuhan, Ashes 'Mixed Together' Impossible To Identify

In the Chinese city where coronavirus first appeared,  the death toll may be much higher than official numbers. Ugly truths are now appearing as survivors wait in line to pick up remains of loved ones.

It's been one week since residents in Wuhan, the Chinese city where Covid-19 originated, have been allowed to collect the ashes of their family members who died during the epidemic. The long lines outside each of Wuhan's eight crematoria suggest the official coronavirus death count of 2,531 may be just a fraction of the true toll. But reports say despair is spreading among the relatives of the victims for another reason: the ashes may not be identifiable.

Tang Dynasty Television reported that social media posts by a local resident named Qin Peng, who said one of the crematorium confirmed to him that the ashes of all the dead were "mixed together, and just divided into equal amounts in the funeral urns in accordance with the total death toll."

"This is definitely 100% possible," another anonymous Wuhan citizen told the network. "During the peak time of the pandemic, the crematoria were burning several corpses at one time in each incinerator. No family member was allowed to be present. Who knows what they were doing."

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A girl waves a Chinese flag while seeing off visiting medics from in Wuhan on Monday.
CAIXINMEDIA

Coronavirus: What's The Real Death Toll In Wuhan?

Determining how many people really died in the Chinese city where COVID-19 began may help to understand what the toll will be elsewhere. But are authorities telling the truth?

WUHAN — In the Chinese city where the coronavirus outbreak began, the most severe quarantine measures are beginning to ease. But life is hardly returning to normal in the capital city of the province of Hubei. The most painful question for locals is being closely followed by the entire world: How many people died in Wuhan?

While the Chinese government's official number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the city is 2,531, many have suspected that the toll may be much higher. Since last Thursday, survivors have been allowed to collect the ashes of their loved ones, and Beijing-based Caixin newspaper reports long lines at all eight major funeral homes.

Suspicious of the official number, Chinese-language opposition news outlet The Epoch Times did the math.

  • Wuhan's eight crematoria have a total of 86 incinerators. The largest among them, the Hankou funeral parlor, was previously reported to be in operation 24 hours a day with the capacity to incinerate 576 corpses per day.

  • Epoch Times estimated that the total number of corpses burned in Wuhan during the 40-day peak period to be 66,048.

  • Another funeral parlor has stated it will distribute 500 boxes of ashes per day, hoping to finish the distribution in 12 days, in time for Tomb-Sweeping Day, the equivalent of the Christian All-Saints Day, on April 4th. This means that a single crematorium will incinerate 6,000 corpses. Again, the official city-wide death count is 2,531.

  • As deaths begin to pile up in other countries, having the most accurate information on the human toll of the virus is crucial to knowing what policies and treatments worked elsewhere.

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Carrefour will sell its operations in China
Economy

Carrefour Says Au Revoir To China: Lessons In Global Commerce

As Carrefour gets ready to sell a majority of its operations in China, lessons can be learned from the history of the French retail giant's choices over the years.

-Editorial-

BEIJING — Carrefour, France's retailer giant, has announced that it will sell 80% of its Chinese operation, in a transaction worth 4.8 billion RMB (about $700 million), to Suning.com, one of China"s largest retailers. This is how a multinational retail giant puts a full stop to its adventure in China where it endeavored to succeed for more than 20 years.

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The series Ruyi's Royal Love in Palace was slapped by the NRTA
China

China's Costume Drama Television Ban Is A Political Mystery

The National Radio and Television Administration has issued a ban on historic melodrama in time for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. A billion-dollar industry is turned upside down.

BEIJING — In recent months, China has been going through a campaign of name-changing for roads, hotels and communities. To "protect Chinese culture" and promote "a positive and upwards spirit," foreign names are being replaced by fresh-sounding Chinese names. For example, a "Manhattan Square" in Zhejiang Province has been renamed "Sunny Valley."

This cheerful, patriotic trend has also spread to the film and television industry. Thus, a TV series originally titled as "The countercurrent of sorrow" has been renamed "The flowing good time." Another series called "In New York" is now "I'm waiting for you in Beijing."

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Pride parade in Taipei in October 2016
Taiwan

Same-Sex Marriage In Taiwan And The Pursuit Of True Equality

-OpEd-

TAIPEI — It was back on May 24, 2017 that Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled that the constitutional right to equality and freedom of marriage also takes into account same-sex couples. Yet it took two years until the moment earlier this month — after layers of difficulties, including three homophobic referenda led by conservative and Christian groups — that same-sex couples could finally tie the knot.

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Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito during a visit in Malaysia
Japan

Naruhito Now: A Closer Portrait of Japan's Next Emperor

-Analysis-

TOKYO — On May 1, Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed his father, Emperor Akihito, to become the 126th Japanese emperor. The April 1 announcement of the new imperial era's name, Reiwa, means Japan's history is turning a new page.

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Chinese students are plugged in, but are they opened up?
China

On Chinese Youth And The Elusive Hunt For Creativity

China's exam-oriented culture does not foster imagination, which is necessary to create better employees and better people.

-Essay-

BEIJING — A Chinese mother recently told a story about her child, a first grader, on WeChat, China's equivalent of Facebook. A fill-in-the-blank question on the child's school test asked: "What does a persimmon on the tree look like?" The correct answer was a lantern. Unfortunately, her son didn't pick this answer because he saw absolutely no relation between the two objects.

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