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’s legal system must change to protect sexual harassment survivors

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 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.

China’s legal system must change to protect sexual harassment survivors
27 Sep 2021 - 7:24AM
Opinion | How China’s ‘Steel Roses’ can return to Olympic soccer glory

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.

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.

How China’s ‘Steel Roses’ can return to Olympic soccer glory
10 Aug 2021 - 9:15AM
Opinion | China as gentle giant would win more hearts than wolf warrior diplomacy

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.

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.

China as gentle giant would win more hearts than wolf warrior diplomacy
7 Jul 2021 - 12:59AM
Opinion | China’s three-child policy: how to get women on board

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.

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.

China’s three-child policy: how to get women on board
9 Jun 2021 - 4:07AM
Opinion | Censoring feminist discussions will not solve China’s population crisis

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.

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.

Censoring feminist discussions will not solve China’s population crisis
17 May 2021 - 10:16AM
Opinion | China’s political gender gap remains huge. So much for women holding up half the sky

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 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.

China’s political gender gap remains huge. So much for women holding up half the sky
18 Mar 2021 - 9:15AM
Opinion | Pinduoduo death and China’s ‘996’ overwork culture show how vulnerable tech workers have become

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 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.

Pinduoduo death and China’s ‘996’ overwork culture show how vulnerable tech workers have become
17 Jan 2021 - 8:41AM
Opinion | Why China’s single population boom is no cause for alarm

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.

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.

Why China’s single population boom is no cause for alarm
3 Dec 2020 - 11:39AM
Opinion | Other major countries have animal protection laws. Why not China?

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.

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.

Other major countries have animal protection laws. Why not China?
5 Nov 2020 - 1:46AM
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.

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
8 Oct 2020 - 9:53AM
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.

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
22 Sep 2020 - 9:27AM
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.

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
9 Aug 2020 - 6:15AM
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.

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
11 Jul 2020 - 12:43PM
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.

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
7 Jun 2020 - 8:40AM
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.

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
18 Apr 2020 - 10:37AM
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.

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
16 Feb 2020 - 10:31AM
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.

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
15 Feb 2020 - 5:10PM
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’.

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
2 Dec 2019 - 9:25AM
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.

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?
18 Sep 2019 - 6:46AM
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.

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
15 Aug 2019 - 6:28AM
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.

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
8 Jun 2019 - 4:01AM
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.

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
4 May 2019 - 10:30AM
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.

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
25 Jul 2018 - 10:39AM
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.

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
6 Jul 2018 - 6:01PM
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.

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
26 May 2018 - 7:24PM
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

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
12 Mar 2021 - 3:34PM
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.

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
1 Feb 2018 - 11:31AM
How China’s market economy has fuelled a prostitution boom
12 Jan 2018 - 7:41PM
Prostitution to redemption: a Chinese farm girl’s journey
19 Mar 2017 - 12:38PM
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.

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
12 Sep 2015 - 4:15PM