China wants to curb an old custom: the hazing of wedding couples

china wants to curb an old custom the hazing of wedding couples

May 27th 2021 DALI NERVES ARE common in the run-up to nuptials. Couples in some parts of China must brace for torment. In a ritual called naohun, or “disturbing the wedding”, guests haze them. Often this involves forcing the man to strip to his underwear and don stockings or a bra. Friends then tie him to something and slather his body with sticky substances such as soy sauce and eggs. Firecrackers, taped to flesh, are sometimes set off; injuries ensue. Women can be targeted, too. Naohun allows people to kiss…

China’s revealing Afghan strategy

chinas revealing afghan strategy

May 27th 2021 ON MAY 9TH China’s foreign ministry was asked to comment on an atrocity in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Terrorists had detonated a car bomb outside a girls’ school, then two more bombs to kill pupils running for safety. At least 68 people had died, most of them children. The attack was aimed at girls from a Shia minority that is often targeted by Sunni Islamist groups, which have brought much misery to Afghanistan. Today such groups are jostling for blood-soaked advantage ahead of a full withdrawal of…

Chinese parents are keen on a more Confucian education

chinese parents are keen on a more confucian education

May 20th 2021 ZHUZHOU AT FIRST GLANCE, Huaguoshan kindergarten in Zhuzhou, a city in the southern province of Hunan, looks much like any other nursery. Four brightly painted playrooms have buckets of building bricks and soft, coloured mats. But on higher floors, the classrooms are more spartan. Rice-paper lanterns and a row of black roof tiles running along the top of the walls evoke ancient Chinese architecture. Children wear powder-blue fleeces with the mandarin collars and frog fasteners of traditional jackets. Large portraits of Confucius hang on otherwise bare walls.…

How disgruntled Chinese people talk about you-know-who

how disgruntled chinese people talk about you know who

May 20th 2021 BEIJING ON MAY 6TH Wang Xing, a Chinese tech tycoon, posted a classical ninth-century poem on Fanfou, a social-media platform. The poem mocked an ancient Chinese emperor who tried to quell unrest by burning books. “The ashes of burnt books had not yet faded away but the Qin dynasty was already weak,” read the poem. For some reason, cynics suggested that the dynasty Mr Wang had in mind was not an ancient one at all, and the “emperor” he was mocking was Xi Jinping. Listen to this…

Why wealthy Chinese families recruit poor graduates as sons-in-law

why wealthy chinese families recruit poor graduates as sons in law

May 20th 2021 THE LINGYIN temple in Hangzhou, a lovely, tree-shaded place, has long drawn those seeking the blessings of a good marriage or children. Pilgrims may still be glimpsed today. On a recent afternoon Chaguan watched a mother and daughter leave a tour group to pray, incense sticks held aloft, to a statue of Guanyin, a Buddhist immortal, before hurrying back to their guide. Listen to this story Your browser does not support the <audio> element. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android. In centuries past, praying…

China is in danger of being humiliated at the winter Olympics

china is in danger of being humiliated at the winter olympics

May 15th 2021 IN 2018 THE Chinese men’s ice-hockey team qualified for the first time for the Olympic games, to be held in 2022 in Beijing, under a special dispensation for the host country. The cold reality of what this would mean was brought home last year when China was drawn in the same group in the competition as two powerhouses of the sport, Canada and America. A “slaughter” is likely, says China Sports Insider, a website. That would be a propaganda nightmare for the Communist Party, especially given the…

China’s football troubles reflect broader issues within the economy

chinas football troubles reflect broader issues within the economy

May 13th 2021 SHANGHAI IT WAS A hot and sticky night for football. Because of covid-19 restrictions, the match was played at a neutral site, nearly three hours from Shanghai by car. Adding to the inconvenience, kick-off was at 6pm on a Monday. Yet a few thousand supporters still made the trek on May 10th to watch their beloved local side, Shenhua, battle the club from Hebei, a northern province. “It’s a kind of faith for us,” said A.G. Wan, a middle-aged businessman. Listen to this story Your browser does…

Why more young Chinese want to be civil servants

why more young chinese want to be civil servants

May 13th 2021 WHEN ZHU LING graduated last year from a highly competitive master’s programme at one of China’s best universities, prestigious, well-paid jobs were hers for the taking. Instead she chose to become a civil servant for the central government, earning 6,000 yuan ($930) a month, or less than some Beijing professionals spend on gym membership. Listen to this story Your browser does not support the <audio> element. Enjoy more audio and podcasts on iOS or Android. A decade ago, Miss Zhu (not her real name) might have joined…

China pushes back against critics of its policies in Xinjiang

china pushes back against critics of its policies in

May 8th 2021 NOT LONG before the Beijing Olympics of 2008, the Chinese government carried out a vicious crackdown on demonstrations in Tibet. Foreign media drew attention to it, and people outside China held protests. A Chinese academic popularised the idea of “three afflictions”: two that China had faced in the past (“being beaten” by foreign powers and “being starved” by poverty) and a third that it faces now: “being scolded” by the rest of the world. Later President Xi Jinping adopted the concept, arguing that China faces a “fight…

Why so many young Chinese seek plastic surgery

why so many young chinese seek plastic surgery

May 8th 2021 HANNAH TANG, a company manager in Beijing, first went under the knife when she was 18. The surgeon made an incision across each of her eyelids, then stitched folds of skin back to transform her monolids into “double eyelids”. The result was eyes that look bigger, rounder, and in Ms Tang’s opinion, more beautiful. Now 35, Ms Tang (not her real name) has since had two more eyelid surgeries, as well as botox injections in her neck and monthly non-invasive “skin booster” treatments. “Pretty much everyone I…