On Chinese Dating Shows, the Stars Are Old, Single, and Ready to Mingle


Inside a colorfully lit TV studio, a middle-aged woman dressed in a tight-fitting silk dress is trying to convince an older man to loosen up. “Can we hold hands and hug right now?” she asks, stepping toward him. The man, a 60-something wearing a traditional Tang jacket, looks visibly shocked by how forward she’s being. “Holding hands is fine,” he replies awkwardly. But the woman … Continue reading On Chinese Dating Shows, the Stars Are Old, Single, and Ready to Mingle

Many Chinese Are Missing Another Spring Festival Reunion


SHANGHAI — There’s a saying in China that people always return home for the Spring Festival, no matter the distance. But the pandemic has changed that for many who had no choice but to cancel plans to reunite with their family for the third year in a row. With hundreds of millions of people crisscrossing the country during the peak travel season, authorities are concerned about … Continue reading Many Chinese Are Missing Another Spring Festival Reunion

China’s Elderly Have a New Obsession: Video Games


Old Man Yang can barely contain his excitement as he tries out the racing video game Gran Turismo Sport. The 86-year-old has hooked up a steering wheel and set of pedals to his PlayStation 5, and is now fighting to keep a Volkswagen sedan from swerving off the track. As the car lurches toward the barriers, his entire body sways from side to side. “This … Continue reading China’s Elderly Have a New Obsession: Video Games

Mental Health Used to Be a Taboo in China. That’s Changing Fast.


SHANGHAI — In 2021, China’s most talked-about new gallery wasn’t based in Beijing’s trendy 798 Art District or in the laid-back southwestern city of Chengdu. It was inside a Shanghai mental hospital. The No. 600 Gallery — a small space in the Shanghai Mental Health Center’s (SMHC) downtown facility — opened its doors to the public in August. It began with a tiny budget; its … Continue reading Mental Health Used to Be a Taboo in China. That’s Changing Fast.

China’s Solution for Loneliness: Play Time for Grown-ups


SHANGHAI — Inside a downtown community center, eight retirees are sitting around a table, each clutching a length of plastic drainpipe. “Everyone pass the ball through your drainpipe one by one,” a social worker instructs the group. “Anyone who fails to catch and pass on the ball will receive a ‘punishment,’” she adds with a smile. It’s playtime at Huayang Integrated Elder Care Center, and … Continue reading China’s Solution for Loneliness: Play Time for Grown-ups