In China, Millions of Women Never Learned to Read. Can TikTok Help?


At first glance, Liu Bingxia’s lesson looks like any regular Chinese class: The 47-year-old stands in front of a blackboard, reading out the characters she has neatly written in white chalk. “Siji — driver,” she says, then calls on students to repeat the word back to her. But Liu is no ordinary teacher. Each of her online lessons is attended by thousands of people from all … Continue reading In China, Millions of Women Never Learned to Read. Can TikTok Help?

In China’s Hinterlands, Young Women Can’t Find a Man. Literally.


After college, Zhao Junru made the selfless decision to move back to her hometown in central China’s Henan province. As an only daughter, she felt duty bound to live close to her aging parents, even though she longed for the freedom of big city life. Yet two years later, Zhao’s relationship with her parents has collapsed. Things have gotten so bad recently, she’s no longer … Continue reading In China’s Hinterlands, Young Women Can’t Find a Man. Literally.

As China’s Economy Stutters, the Elderly Are Emerging as Big Spenders


Zheng Peijun hasn’t let China’s “zero-COVID” restrictions stop her having a good time.  Before the pandemic, the 60-year-old used to go on vacations all over the world: to the United States, Southeast Asia, and a dozen different European countries. This year, she’s had to stay within China, but she’s traveling even more than before. This week, she’s spending the National Day holiday hiking with her … Continue reading As China’s Economy Stutters, the Elderly Are Emerging as Big Spenders

In 2022, China’s Students Are Struggling to Cope. So Are Their Teachers.


When Yu moved to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou to start her first teaching job in 2021, she arrived full of hope and idealism. The fresh graduate was determined to educate the next generation and treat every teenager under her care as an individual. That didn’t last long. Within weeks, Yu found herself struggling to cope. She had 80 students to teach, a rigid, … Continue reading In 2022, China’s Students Are Struggling to Cope. So Are Their Teachers.

In ‘Zero-COVID’ China, the Elderly Are Becoming Ever More Marginalized


SHANGHAI — For years, Gu Hong has enjoyed visiting the local deli near her home. Whenever the 73-year-old didn’t feel like cooking, she’d wander down the street to buy a steaming plate of sweet-and-sour ribs. Then Shanghai went into lockdown, and everything changed. When Gu returned to the deli in June, she found herself barred from entering. “The staff said I had to scan the … Continue reading In ‘Zero-COVID’ China, the Elderly Are Becoming Ever More Marginalized