The Economist: China

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China’s anti-poverty drive is not disinterested charity

STRIVING TO OBEY an order from President Xi Jinping—namely, that extreme poverty must be eliminated in China by the end of 2020—officials have given many things to Jizi Arimo, a 47-year-old widow and mother of four. Chaguan met Ms Jizi last week in a newly built apartment block in Yuexi, a once-remote rural county in the south-western province of Sichuan....

The bruised city of Wuhan has become a showcase for China

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub IN A CANDID online diary of life under quarantine, Fang Fang, a celebrated author living in Wuhan, recorded her worry that residents’ memories of the agony would fade too quickly. “We...

The families of China’s pre-Communist elite remain privileged

THESE DAYS the Chinese Communist Party prefers to play down the horrors unleashed by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. But a rare chronicle of the period by a writer based in China, “The World Turned Upside Down”, describes the chairman’s harsh campaign to reorder Chinese society in vivid detail. (An English version will be published...

China’s authoritarian approach won’t save the environment

IT IS TIME that civic-minded Chinese become better acquainted with rubbish, suggests Chen Yu, a retired publisher from Shanghai, at the end of a Saturday spent counting litter on the banks of the Yangzi river. This afternoon’s survey has a scientific purpose. Undaunted by the muggy heat and mosquitoes of late summer, Mrs Chen and three dozen other volunteers...

China’s Communist Party is splurging on new local drop-in centres

IN SHENZHEN’S GLISTENING tech district, opposite the headquarters of Tencent, a giant digital conglomerate, the Communist Party vies for attention. “Follow the party, start your business” is etched into a futuristic-looking cube at the entrance to a two-storey building, its walls sprayed with paintings of giant robots. In the lobby stands a life-size...

Tensions between China and the West threaten journalism

AROUND MIDNIGHT on September 2nd, seven state-security officers knocked on the door of Bill Birtles, an Australian journalist in Beijing. He was told he was involved in a case and ordered not to leave China. Instead of detaining him, however, the police said they would call him in the afternoon to arrange an interview. At the same time in Shanghai...

China’s drive to boost the use of Mandarin in schools angers ethnic Mongols

ON THE FIRST day of the school year in Inner Mongolia, a northern province of China, some teachers in schools using the Mongolian language found their classrooms empty. To show their anger at an official order that Mandarin be used to teach history, politics and literature, parents had kept their children at home. In recent years the government has...

Schools in China are trying to make pupils’ lives easier

THE LARGEST museum commemorating the gruelling examination system China used in imperial days to select civil servants opened in 2017 in Nanjing. It would not seem an obvious destination for a fun family outing in the eastern city. As visitors walk into it down a grey ramp—130 metres long to symbolise the test’s 1,300-year history—a sign tells them...

To buy peace, officials in China tolerate some forms of disobedience

FOR A BUSINESS that flouts the law in a police state, Mrs Hu’s pancake cart is not hard to find. A tiny, unlicensed kitchen on wheels, her pushcart appears each night between 11pm and dawn on a road junction in central Beijing, between a centuries-old temple and a bus station. Neither summer heat nor snow deters Mrs Hu. Only rain keeps her at home,...

Podcasting provides a space for free thought in China

MUXI MAKES cables that charge smartphones in a factory near Shanghai. The work is boring, he says, but at least his boss lets him wear Bluetooth earphones. That way, for six days a week, 11 hours a day, as his hands fly across the assembly line, his mind fills. First, the 24-year-old listened to audiobooks. Then, online classes. Now, he prefers podcasts....

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