Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang is a rocket-factory worker turned social commentator, and the author of a novel, Lotus.

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Latest from Lijia Zhang

Opinion | China needs open debate on the Korean war to lay ghosts to rest

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.

8 Oct 2020 - 9:53AM

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.

China needs open debate on the Korean war to lay ghosts to rest
Opinion | To protect its abused women, China must fight ingrained male chauvinism

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.

22 Sep 2020 - 9:27AM

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.

To protect its abused women, China must fight ingrained male chauvinism
Opinion | Zhang Yuhuan case shows China’s need to prevent wrongful convictions

High-profile cases have shown gaps in China’s legal system: coerced confessions, misidentification of bodies, conflicting statements and lack of evidence. Authorities must take a careful look at what went wrong in Zhang Yuhuan’s case and punish those responsible.

9 Aug 2020 - 6:15AM

High-profile cases have shown gaps in China’s legal system: coerced confessions, misidentification of bodies, conflicting statements and lack of evidence. Authorities must take a careful look at what went wrong in Zhang Yuhuan’s case and punish those responsible.

Zhang Yuhuan case shows China’s need to prevent wrongful convictions
Opinion | How a TV talent show for older women has thrown a spotlight on feminist discourse in China

The show, which includes glamorous women in their 50s, fails to live up to its ‘girl power’ trappings, but it has sparked a heated online debate about feminism and ageism in China.

11 Jul 2020 - 12:43PM

The show, which includes glamorous women in their 50s, fails to live up to its ‘girl power’ trappings, but it has sparked a heated online debate about feminism and ageism in China.

How a TV talent show for older women has thrown a spotlight on feminist discourse in China
Opinion | Why downgrading English to boost China’s cultural confidence is a bad idea

National People’s Congress delegates have questioned the prominence of English at press conferences and in schools in China. But at a time when Covid-19 is aggravating anti-Chinese sentiment, China should stay open to cultural exchange.

7 Jun 2020 - 8:40AM

National People’s Congress delegates have questioned the prominence of English at press conferences and in schools in China. But at a time when Covid-19 is aggravating anti-Chinese sentiment, China should stay open to cultural exchange.

Why downgrading English to boost China’s cultural confidence is a bad idea
Opinion | The coronavirus pandemic is nature’s wake-up call to humans who have lost their Way

The prevention of future pandemics must be a collective effort by the world, but China has a crucial role to play. The country must adopt a more environmentally sustainable development model, and it can start by relearning Taoist teachings.

18 Apr 2020 - 10:37AM

The prevention of future pandemics must be a collective effort by the world, but China has a crucial role to play. The country must adopt a more environmentally sustainable development model, and it can start by relearning Taoist teachings.

The coronavirus pandemic is nature’s wake-up call to humans who have lost their Way
Opinion | Coronavirus triggers an ugly rash of racism as the old ideas of ‘Yellow Peril’ and ‘sick man of Asia’ return

A headline referring to China as the ‘sick man of Asia’, a cartoon of the Chinese flag with stars replaced by viruses, an increase in xenophobic incidents against Chinese people: the coronavirus outbreak seems to have brought out people’s uglier side.

16 Feb 2020 - 10:31AM

A headline referring to China as the ‘sick man of Asia’, a cartoon of the Chinese flag with stars replaced by viruses, an increase in xenophobic incidents against Chinese people: the coronavirus outbreak seems to have brought out people’s uglier side.

Coronavirus triggers an ugly rash of racism as the old ideas of ‘Yellow Peril’ and ‘sick man of Asia’ return
Opinion | Why many Chinese women are giving motherhood a miss – it’s not just the high cost of raising a child

Women from the one-child generation tend to be assertive and career-focused. Their aspirations do not always include motherhood and they are less influenced by calls from the government. What is needed are policies to support working women.

15 Feb 2020 - 5:10PM

Women from the one-child generation tend to be assertive and career-focused. Their aspirations do not always include motherhood and they are less influenced by calls from the government. What is needed are policies to support working women.

Why many Chinese women are giving motherhood a miss – it’s not just the high cost of raising a child
Opinion | China’s divorce rate is spiking because women no longer have to accept unsatisfying marriages. This should be celebrated, not stifled

Due to amended laws and declining stigmas, women are the main instigators of China’s climbing divorce rate. Alarmed authorities are now taking countermeasures, but women’s freedom should not be sacrificed for ‘social stability’.

2 Dec 2019 - 9:25AM

Due to amended laws and declining stigmas, women are the main instigators of China’s climbing divorce rate. Alarmed authorities are now taking countermeasures, but women’s freedom should not be sacrificed for ‘social stability’.

China’s divorce rate is spiking because women no longer have to accept unsatisfying marriages. This should be celebrated, not stifled
Opinion | Protests expose the gulf between Hong Kong and mainland China. But could they also be a bridge to better understanding?

Anecdotal accounts tell us that many mainlanders could not appreciate the reasons for Hongkongers’ anger, while Hongkongers largely do not share the sense of pride at the nation’s achievements. The protests have, however, aroused curiosity among mainlanders, and that could spur attempts to better understand.

18 Sep 2019 - 6:46AM

Anecdotal accounts tell us that many mainlanders could not appreciate the reasons for Hongkongers’ anger, while Hongkongers largely do not share the sense of pride at the nation’s achievements. The protests have, however, aroused curiosity among mainlanders, and that could spur attempts to better understand.

Protests expose the gulf between Hong Kong and mainland China. But could they also be a bridge to better understanding?
Opinion | To tackle China’s hidden epidemic of child sex abuse, a national child protection network is needed

China’s courts have announced a zero-tolerance policy to punish offenders but more needs to be done to protect victims from fear of exposure and stigma. Setting up a national network for child protection would be a positive step.

15 Aug 2019 - 6:28AM

China’s courts have announced a zero-tolerance policy to punish offenders but more needs to be done to protect victims from fear of exposure and stigma. Setting up a national network for child protection would be a positive step.

To tackle China’s hidden epidemic of child sex abuse, a national child protection network is needed
Opinion | No place in modern China for women’s morality classes that seek to turn the clock back, 70 years after Mao proclaimed equality

Feudal notions of ‘female virtue’, chastity and submissiveness are rearing their ugly heads across the country as more turn to outdated ideas of morality to address a growing discomfort with permissiveness in society.

8 Jun 2019 - 4:01AM

Feudal notions of ‘female virtue’, chastity and submissiveness are rearing their ugly heads across the country as more turn to outdated ideas of morality to address a growing discomfort with permissiveness in society.

No place in modern China for women’s morality classes that seek to turn the clock back, 70 years after Mao proclaimed equality
Opinion | Xi Jinping would rather the Chinese forgot the true legacy of the May Fourth protests. But we mustn’t

A century on, Beijing is turning the May Fourth Movement into a lesson in patriotism. But we also need to remember that, before the communist takeover, the student demonstrations of 1919 were associated with democracy.

4 May 2019 - 10:30AM

A century on, Beijing is turning the May Fourth Movement into a lesson in patriotism. But we also need to remember that, before the communist takeover, the student demonstrations of 1919 were associated with democracy.

Xi Jinping would rather the Chinese forgot the true legacy of the May Fourth protests. But we mustn’t
Opinion | Rabies vaccine scandal reveals China’s tattered moral fabric

The Communist Party’s violent discarding of traditional values, suppression of religion and later embrace of cutthroat capitalism has severely damaged social trust. The party has attempted moral campaigns since then but, as the Changsheng scandal shows, they have not worked.

25 Jul 2018 - 10:39AM

The Communist Party’s violent discarding of traditional values, suppression of religion and later embrace of cutthroat capitalism has severely damaged social trust. The party has attempted moral campaigns since then but, as the Changsheng scandal shows, they have not worked.

Rabies vaccine scandal reveals China’s tattered moral fabric
Opinion | Sex pests on the subway: China is finally cracking down, thanks to its brave women

The Beijing authorities are finally cracking down on gropers on public transport, four years after five women were arrested for calling attention to the problem. The change in the government’s attitude should be attributed to the work of these activists and the #MeToo movement.

6 Jul 2018 - 6:01PM

The Beijing authorities are finally cracking down on gropers on public transport, four years after five women were arrested for calling attention to the problem. The change in the government’s attitude should be attributed to the work of these activists and the #MeToo movement.

Sex pests on the subway: China is finally cracking down, thanks to its brave women
Opinion | Left-behind children a poignant reminder of the cost of China’s development

In the run-up to Children’s Day on June 1, China should take action to help the millions of children living away from their migrant worker parents.

26 May 2018 - 7:24PM

In the run-up to Children’s Day on June 1, China should take action to help the millions of children living away from their migrant worker parents.

Left-behind children a poignant reminder of the cost of China’s development
Gender discrimination in China is resurfacing as employers seek pretty women, or men

China’s new economy has brought back regressive ideas about women, resulting in the objectification of women in job adverts and a widening gender pay gap

25 Apr 2018 - 6:45PM

China’s new economy has brought back regressive ideas about women, resulting in the objectification of women in job adverts and a widening gender pay gap

Gender discrimination in China is resurfacing as employers seek pretty women, or men
One of 60 million: life as a ‘left-behind’ child in China

China has a lost generation of ‘left-behind’ children, mostly the offspring of migrant workers forced to leave villages for cities in search of jobs. Huang Yuzhong was just 8 years old when his parents went. This is his story.

1 Feb 2018 - 11:31AM

China has a lost generation of ‘left-behind’ children, mostly the offspring of migrant workers forced to leave villages for cities in search of jobs. Huang Yuzhong was just 8 years old when his parents went. This is his story.

One of 60 million: life as a ‘left-behind’ child in China
How China’s market economy has fuelled a prostitution boom
Prostitution to redemption: a Chinese farm girl’s journey
Aung San Suu Kyi's former aide Ma Thida on prison, hopes for Myanmar, and The Lady

Ma Thida is not one to mince words. The author, doctor and activist talks to Lijia Zhang about being a bad prisoner but a good citizen, and why she doesn't always agree with Aung San Suu Kyi.

12 Sep 2015 - 4:15PM

Ma Thida is not one to mince words. The author, doctor and activist talks to Lijia Zhang about being a bad prisoner but a good citizen, and why she doesn't always agree with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi's former aide Ma Thida on prison, hopes for Myanmar, and The Lady
Profile: Dominique Othenin-Girard - Swiss filmmaker and Sinophile

The Swiss film director tells Lijia Zhang about learning to lie, making a biopic about a hero and his fascination with China, which he now calls home.

7 Mar 2015 - 8:16PM

The Swiss film director tells Lijia Zhang about learning to lie, making a biopic about a hero and his fascination with China, which he now calls home.

Profile: Dominique Othenin-Girard - Swiss filmmaker and Sinophile
China's savvy young women begin to tear down the walls of gender discrimination
The grim reality of China's migrant factory workers
New domestic violence law won't change chauvinistic attitudes of China's men

On a snowy Sunday in February last year, when Chaoyang District People's Court announced the final divorce verdict of Kim Lee, I was among a dozen or so supporters and activists who waited outside.

8 Dec 2014 - 6:23AM

On a snowy Sunday in February last year, when Chaoyang District People's Court announced the final divorce verdict of Kim Lee, I was among a dozen or so supporters and activists who waited outside.

New domestic violence law won't change chauvinistic attitudes of China's men
Think tanks with Chinese characteristics won't fully succeed in muzzling scholars

At the meeting of the "leading group for overall reform" at the end of last month, President Xi Jinping called for the building of "a new type of think tank with Chinese characteristics".

17 Nov 2014 - 4:48AM

At the meeting of the "leading group for overall reform" at the end of last month, President Xi Jinping called for the building of "a new type of think tank with Chinese characteristics".

Think tanks with Chinese characteristics won't fully succeed in muzzling scholars
The everyday challenges of China's ageing population demand attention

At 50 and in excellent health, I had hardly given any thought to ageing. Having spent the past two weeks at my father's hospice in Nanjing, however, I was pushed to confront the grim reality of it.

27 Oct 2014 - 4:06AM

At 50 and in excellent health, I had hardly given any thought to ageing. Having spent the past two weeks at my father's hospice in Nanjing, however, I was pushed to confront the grim reality of it.

The everyday challenges of China's ageing population demand attention
Mainlanders remain cool to Hong Kong's democracy fever

As someone who took part in the pro-democracy movement back in 1989, I followed the unfolding pro-democracy protests with keen interest and found the images of umbrellas being used as shields exciting and inspiring.

8 Oct 2014 - 9:08PM

As someone who took part in the pro-democracy movement back in 1989, I followed the unfolding pro-democracy protests with keen interest and found the images of umbrellas being used as shields exciting and inspiring.

Mainlanders remain cool to Hong Kong's democracy fever
In time, Chinese tourists will learn to behave better abroad

I smile to myself just to think that I, a former spitting champion, should write a piece about manners (or, rather, the lack of them) among the Chinese.

27 Sep 2014 - 2:56AM

I smile to myself just to think that I, a former spitting champion, should write a piece about manners (or, rather, the lack of them) among the Chinese.

In time, Chinese tourists will learn to behave better abroad
Lack of school support for China's migrant children a crying shame

The start of a new school year should be a joyful time. Instead, in Beijing, it has heralded tears and painful family separations: the children of migrant workers who failed to secure a place at a local school have been forced to leave.

15 Sep 2014 - 11:38PM

The start of a new school year should be a joyful time. Instead, in Beijing, it has heralded tears and painful family separations: the children of migrant workers who failed to secure a place at a local school have been forced to leave.

Lack of school support for China's migrant children a crying shame