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 →

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 Has a Problem With Bad Sex Advice. Can a New Exam Fix It?


Guo Yun finally found the courage to step into a sex shop last year to buy a dildo for her birthday. Before long, however, she retreated back to the streets of downtown Shanghai, confused and disappointed. “It was one of the most elegant sex shops I’ve seen in the city, and I thought they’d have... Continue Reading →

How ‘The Penis Monologues’ Challenges China’s Toxic Masculinity


ZHEJIANG, East China — On a theater stage in the city of Hangzhou, a male character reflects on the time he date-raped a woman. “I finally broke through her defense and forcefully penetrated her. Controlling her, I felt the happiness of a conqueror. The insertion of my penis seems to have stamped a seal on... Continue Reading →

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