In a national push, local governments in China have been roped in to promote marriage and childbirth as a social and economic duty. Beijing should tread gently though, as public attitudes towards where the state may apply its coercive powers have changed.
Growing numbers of independent-minded Chinese women no longer see marriage as a necessary passage in life, but they might still embrace motherhood. Passing a nationwide law ensuring equal rights for single mothers would remove significant barriers to having children and be good for the country as a whole.
Proposal to criminalise clothes that hurt national feelings is a step too far. Concerns are already growing as young people wearing kimonos or T-shirts with rainbows are barred by security, even detained by police
Chinese drama ‘Imperfect Victim’ has sparked debate over workplace sexual harassment and power politics months after #MeToo’s Zhou Xiaoxuan lost an appeal against a powerful man she accused of sexual assault.
Public opinion in the US and China towards the other is at its lowest point, hampering efforts to improve relations and avert the drift towards war. Politicians’ need to appear tough on the other side and preserve their legitimacy is driving them to even more hawkish positions.
With youth unemployment hitting a record high in China, some jobless graduates are using a 1919 story to express their frustration. The authorities have responded with critical articles on the negativity of young Chinese, when much more needs to be done.
Lao’s case and its gruesome details have captivated many in China, and lawyer Wu Danhong’s decision to defend her has only added to the controversy. Wu and his team deserve credit for taking on the case and defending the rule of law, but instead they have received condemnation and harassment.
Simply raising the number of children a couple is allowed to have will not change the fact many young Chinese don’t want to have children, and policies that seek to encourage birth must rely on persuasion, not force.
After a rise to prominence in the early 2000s, the country’s public intellectuals have lost credibility as tolerance for criticism of China has shrunk. Suppressing these people leaves fewer voices to suggest new ways forward, with top leaders stuck in an echo chamber with little ability to correct mistakes.
Chinese people have generally given the central and provincial governments high marks for their handling of the pandemic, but that is starting to shift. Frustration over persisting with the ‘zero-Covid’ policy is starting to show through, threatening to erode hard-earned public trust.
China’s ageing problem is particularly acute in rural areas, where elderly residents often have no children around to care for them and pensions are too low to live on. Reforms that would put rural pensions on par with those enjoyed by city dwellers are sorely needed, but remain a distant prospect.
While more Chinese students have returned from overseas in recent years, many of the best and brightest are still staying away. As Beijing and Washington fight for tech primacy, China is losing talent to the US. Allowing dual citizenship would be an effective way to address the problem.
Nationalistic commentator Sima Nan has sparked debate about the role of literature following his attack on Nobel laureate Mo Yan for failing to celebrate China. Perhaps he hopes to ride the wave of patriotism surging across China, but this is a worrying development for the Chinese literary scene.
China and Russia are not natural allies, but geopolitics has pushed them together as they both feel they have been bullied by the West. The partnership between the two is situational and will become more so the longer the Ukraine war continues.
With its aggressive diplomacy, handling of Covid-19 and tightening grip on Hong Kong, China’s image abroad had already taken a battering. It’s stance on Ukraine hasn’t helped and Beijing must now distance itself from Moscow, and seek to negotiate a peace deal, to avoid further damage.
An outcry over an abducted woman’s inhuman treatment in Xuzhou led to arrests this time, but the nightmare for thousands of women across China will continue if the authorities don’t take the problem seriously.
Boycotts of sporting events fail to achieve political goals and only harm the athletes. Research suggests the 2008 Olympics had positive effects on China, and Beijing’s hosting of the Winter Olympics will continue to expand the role of sport in the country.
An amendment by the Chinese government to further safeguard the rights of women is laudable, but claims that change should only come from the top ignore centuries of women’s grass-roots struggles for equality.
China has made progress, treating prisoners more humanely and narrowing the list of offences that merit capital punishment. As support for the death penalty wanes, public debate will allow citizens to understand why abolitionists oppose the idea.
The sad truth is that China’s legal system tends to favour the defendant in civil litigation. Courts should place more weight on testimony and reconsider the ‘high degree of likelihood’ standard.
The rise of women’s football elsewhere, Western-style sponsorship and lack of interest from the public and authorities have eroded China’s standing. Broad-based efforts including from parents, the government, private firms and the public are needed to restore its prominence.
For many Chinese, Xi Jinping’s stern warning to foreign powers on the centenary of the Communist Party was a sign of strength and resolve. But it would not have gone down well with the rest of the world, at a time when many are already wary of China’s rapid rise.
Merely allowing three children won’t be enough. To boost births, China will have to offer financial incentives, significantly expand its childcare capacity, and promote women-friendly policies and equality.
Shutting down feminist groups on social media over ‘extremism’ has backfired and led to greater visibility for radical feminism. If the government is worried about China’s population, it should address discrimination and other issues that hold back women.
The roots of the problem of low female political participation lie in the depths of China’s patriarchal culture. Party membership is a basic requirement if a woman wants to rise through the ranks of government and yet, out of 91 million members, only 28 per cent are women.
The government should step in to protect workers, end the 996 regime endemic in tech giants, and stop capitalism in its coldest form from being practised in socialist China.
The news that China’s single population has reached 240 million has sparked alarm in some quarters. However, concerns over the threat to individual well-being and social stability posed by the growing number of single households are overblown.
There’s a growing need for animal welfare legislation, as pet ownership becomes fashionable among urban, middle-class Chinese. An estimated 92 million dogs and cats are being kept as pets, but not all the owners know how to treat them.
The war has been immensely consequential for China’s relations with the US, and the facts of China’s decision to go to war 70 years ago should not be lost in the fog of history. If mistakes were made, they should be acknowledged.
A recent domestic violence case has triggered discussion about why it is so difficult to obtain a divorce in China. The nation needs to rethink cultural assumptions about divorce, and the system must help abused women, instead of sending them home.