After a Year of Loss, Chinese Find Solace in ‘Death Cafés’


SHANGHAI — In 2019, while Feng Qing was traveling abroad, her beloved grandmother unexpectedly died. Feng couldn’t forgive herself for missing the last opportunity to spend time with the woman who had raised her. “I was crying all day,” she says. But Feng had nowhere to turn with her grief. Her parents certainly didn’t want... Continue Reading →

For China’s Middle-Aged Women, Depression Is an ‘Invisible Killer’


SHANGHAI — It took less than two months for menopausal depression to push Xu to the brink of killing herself. The 55-year-old, a teacher from the southwestern Yunnan province, first began feeling unwell in May 2018. Initially, her only symptom was a loss of appetite, and she assumed she simply had a stomach problem. She... Continue Reading →

The Broadway Show Trying to Change China’s Tune on Mental Illness


SHANGHAI – It’s Thursday evening, and there’s a long line snaking around the ticket office at Shanghai Culture Square Theater. People are waiting to collect their tickets to see a Chinese adaptation of the Broadway musical “Next to Normal.” Among them is 25-year-old Liu Mingzhu, who has bipolar disorder, and her best friend, for whom... Continue Reading →

The Chinese Couples Going Dutch on Literally Everything


JIANGSU, East China — Long before Hu Xing and her husband tied the knot, their families had already planned out their life together in minute detail. Over a series of meetings, the two sets of parents agreed their children’s union would be a marriage of equals. There would be no dowry, bride price, or betrothal... Continue Reading →

China’s Left-Behind Kids Repeat Their Parents’ Tragic Choices


Fang Tiantian still recalls the pain she felt as a young child when her mother and father packed their bags and left her in her village in southwestern China. The 30-year-old understands why her parents did it. In the early ’90s, her home region of Guizhou province was bitterly poor, and the only route out... Continue Reading →

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