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What a new drama series reveals about China

China | ChaguanThe propaganda machine creates a virtuous, village-born Communist Party chief Jan 26th 2023Propaganda often clarifies how leaders see themselves, and would like to be seen. Look closely, and it can also expose insecurities. In this new year China’s propaganda machine is working overtime to promote “County Party Committee Courtyard”, a...

Does China’s softer tone extend to Taiwan?

China | Tense as everThe mainland’s military movements suggest not Jan 26th 2023 | KAOHSIUNGThe howls of China’s “wolf warrior” diplomats seem less intense of late, allowing the tones of more measured officials to resonate. But the change in timbre of Chinese diplomacy does not extend to Taiwan, the self-governing island which America supports and China...

Chinese singles face the heat over the holiday

China | Itching to hitch ’emIt’s not just parents who want them to get married Jan 26th 2023In the weeks leading up to the lunar new year on January 22nd, millions of people in China travelled back to their home towns to celebrate the country’s biggest holiday. Some have not been home for two years, thanks to pandemic travel curbs. There have been joyful...

China is trying to win over Westerners and private firms

China | A cuddlier China?But Xi Jinping is unlikely to change Jan 25th 2023 | DAVOSLiu He is a grey-haired 71-year-old on the verge of retirement from China’s highest level of economic policymaking. He must have many regrets, not least the battering of his country’s economy by a now-abandoned struggle to crush covid-19, and by the disease’s recent rapid...

Riding the slow train in China

China | ChaguanTalking to migrant workers heading home for lunar new year Jan 19th 2023For officials in Xi Jinping’s China, making trains run on time is more than a figure of speech. As Mr Xi enters his second decade as supreme leader, his sternly paternalist version of Communist Party rule seeks to draw ever more legitimacy from the provision of customer-friendly...

Covid-19 has already torn through large swathes of China

China | Has the wave peaked?But a second wave could be more deadly Jan 19th 2023There were many predictions about the rate at which covid-19 would spread in China. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in America thought cases would peak on April 1st. By that time, it said in December, a third of the country’s 1.4bn people would have been infected....

A planned spaceport in Djibouti may give China a boost

China | Preparing for launchThe latter is trying to develop a private space industry to compete with America’s Jan 19th 2023When China began building its first overseas military outpost—a naval base in Djibouti—America and its allies were alarmed. The facility, which opened in 2017, sits just 13km (eight miles) from America’s largest base in Africa....

For the first time since the 1960s, China’s population is shrinking

China | Falling ChinaIts long reign as the world’s most populous country is probably at an end Jan 17th 2023“WE ARE THE last generation.” As news, released on January 17th, that the country’s population had fallen last year for the first time in decades swept Chinese social media, some commenters used these doom-laden words. They have a special resonance...

Many Chinese villagers seem ready to move on from covid-19

China | ChaguanEven as the virus tears through their communities Jan 12th 2023In rural China, the story of this month’s lunar new year will be told in two colours: festive red and the white that signifies mourning. For many country folk, the holiday—which this year falls on January 22nd—will mark a return to near-normality. China has dropped the pandemic...

The cult of Li Wenliang, the doctor who spotted covid-19

China | Shrine to a whistleblowerMany Chinese turn to one of the pandemic’s earliest victims for comfort, and to vent Jan 12th 2023It is nearly three years since Li Wenliang posted his last message on Weibo, a Twitter-like service. “The result of the nucleic-acid test today was positive. The dust has settled, and the diagnosis has finally been confirmed,”...

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