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?
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
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?
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 gifts, and the families would split all subsequent costs 50/50 … Continue reading The Chinese Couples Going Dutch on Literally Everything
SHANGHAI — When he’s hanging around campus, Zhao Zixun often blends into the background. A pimply 19-year-old with a neat buzz cut, he usually dresses simply in baggy pants and tattered sneakers. But on a Saturday night in early December, Zhao transforms into an exuberant, stiletto-heeled diva. The student has entered Millennium Storm — one of the Chinese mainland’s first voguing balls, hosted in a … Continue reading In China’s Voguing Houses, Queer Millennials Strike a New Pose