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 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 ‘Involuted’ China, Eating Disorders Are a Hidden


SHANGHAI — At the entrance to a packed gallery stands a female figure dressed in a pretty white dress. Her body is covered in abusive messages scrawled in red and black ink. “You’re ugly,” “Your waist is too big,” “You look like a pig,” the notes read. The artwork is part of a landmark exhibition in China titled “Anti Body-Shaming,” which opened in Shanghai on … Continue reading In ‘Involuted’ China, Eating Disorders Are a Hidden

Can Anatomical Dolls Help Solve China’s Sex Ed Problem?


SHANGHAI — A crowd of curious adults watched as Chen Jing unzipped the pink cicatrix across the belly of a plush doll made to look like a girl. As she opened an abdominal compartment, a tuft of brown hair poked through. Chen carefully removed the “newborn” from the mother doll, its umbilical cord still attached. “This is how you can explain to your children where … Continue reading Can Anatomical Dolls Help Solve China’s Sex Ed Problem?

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 of poverty seemed to be moving to find work in … Continue reading China’s Left-Behind Kids Repeat Their Parents’ Tragic Choices