China’s reform plan released after the Communist Party’s Third Plenum has been hailed as ambitious and bold. It certainly has far more in it than just the one-child policy reform and abolishment of labour camps. Here is beyondbrics’ summary of the plan, grouped by category. Continue reading »
By Shaomin Li of Old Dominion University
A quarter of a century ago in 1988, China’s one-child policy was in full swing and some side-effects had begun to show. Concerned about it, I wrote my doctoral dissertation examining this policy under the guidance of late professors Ansley Coale and Norman Ryder at Princeton, both founding fathers of demography as a scientific study. I was among the first to point out the major flaws of the policy, and my view then was regarded as quite heretic: I proposed an alternative two-child policy that could achieve the same population control goal as the one-child policy.
Needless to say, the Chinese government did not listen to me; now many of the social problems associated with the policy we worried about then have come to pass. It now seems the policy will be eased.
Twenty five years later, the findings and policy recommendations in my dissertation are still relevant and worth re-capping. Continue reading »
China’s distressingly frequent food quality scandals are bad news for Chinese citizens but may be good news for UK food exports – so long as China can be persuaded to eat foods it has never eaten before, and UK food brands can adapt their traditional fare for a different kind of palate. Continue reading »
Don't mention the smog
Beyondbrics is sometimes a little sceptical of surveys, but here’s one that caught our eye. Where is the best place to be an expat? A comfortable European capital perhaps?
Apparently not. Forget any worries of smog, monsoons or congestion: Thailand tops HSBC’s Expat Experience league table, with China close behind. Even India is in the top 10. What’s going on? Continue reading »
China’s drive to urbanise is expected to transform millions of poor peasants into city-dwellers in the next two decades. Despite urban migration being a top priority for policy makers in Beijing, many ordinary Chinese are feeling left behind by the country’s rapid urbanisation. The FT’s Ben Marino reports.
Unlike many mainland Chinese shoppers, Hu Yunfeng, a 36-year-old man, took the overnight train from Beijing to Hong Kong not for Rolex watches or Louis Vuitton bags, but for books.
Hu is one of several hundred thousand mainland Chinese expected to make the journey to Hong Kong’s annual book fair, held this year from July 17 to 23. It is the biggest event in the Hong Kong summer and the world’s largest book fair in terms of visitors – more than a million people are expected in total. Continue reading »
With a record 7m students graduating from China’s more than 2,000 colleges this month, many Chinese media have marked June as the “most difficult season to get jobs“. And as indicators suggest the Chinese economy is losing steam fast, there have also been suggestions that 2013 will be worse than ever for new graduates seeking employment.
However, a closer look shows that much of the bad news is hype. Continue reading »
If any of us needs more proof that China is rapidly becoming a quintessentially middle class nation – with all that portends for companies whose products appeal to those with a bit of coin in their pocket – then take a look at the divorce statistics.
The number of divorces soared 13.2 per cent last year in Shanghai, while marriages declined 3 per cent. According to city hall data, divorces – were still well short of marriages – at 44,000 versus 144,000. But we can see which way things are going. Continue reading »
China’s parents will do anything to help their child succeed in life – and at this time of year, that means attending to even the most miniscule details of their sleep and evacuation patterns to guarantee maximum success in college entrance exams (gaokao) in the first week of June.
Parents throughout China are booking hotels and restaurants near every exam venue, to make sure their child can study until the very last minute on exam day, and eat nutritious meals nearby that will not send him out of the examination halls with the kind of bowel complaint that could consume precious exam minutes. Continue reading »
The news that Guangzhou is to start building a costly cemetery exclusively for revolutionary heroes and government officials this October has stirred up something of an online controversy.
With the cost of cemetery space far higher than housing, it has highlighted the increasing inequality in Chinese society – in death, as well as in life. Continue reading »
Pure 24 carat gold has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Chinese, who love its beauty and its practicality. So while investors around the world were dumping gold last month, shoppers in China (and elsewhere in Asia) have been lining up in droves outside jewellery stores and banks.
For Chinese people, no other material item on earth so epitomises wealth, prosperity and family tradition. And (rightly or wrongly) it is also regarded as an insurance policy, currency hedge, inflation hedge and international currency all rolled into one. Why? Continue reading »
We recruit in peace
The statistics are staggering: 60 per cent of Chinese worth more than Rmb10m are either planning to move to another country, or have already done so.
Maybe that’s why the people from Mars One came to China on Friday to recruit settlers for the red planet. Continue reading »
A bit of a climbdown by the Chinese government on its yellow traffic light rule, which made running a yellow light as bad as running a red one.
Beijing, it seems, is increasingly ready to give ground on some issues prompting popular protest – unless the issues are really big ones. Continue reading »
China was already notorious for traffic jams but driving on its roads has just got that much more frustrating. A new rule forbids cars from “running” yellow lights and advises drivers to slow down on approaching intersections even when the light is green.
The intention behind the rule is a good one: to make roads safer. But on suffering mild whiplash today when the light turned yellow and my taxi driver slammed the brakes a few feet short of the intersection, it occurred to me that the authorities had not fully grasped the consequences of overturning a century-old worldwide traffic convention. Continue reading »
A mysterious white substance is being smuggled over the border from Vietnam to China in growing quantities.
But it is not quite as illicit as you might think. Sugar, the sweetener added to everything from mooncakes to ketchup, is increasingly in demand in China due to urbanization, changing diets and rising incomes. Continue reading »