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 to talk. As in so many Chinese families, there’d always … Continue reading After a Year of Loss, Chinese Find Solace in ‘Death Cafés’

For China’s Middle-Aged Women, Depression Is an ‘Invisible Killer’


SHANGHAI — It took less than two months for menopausal depression to push Xu to the brink of killing herself. The 55-year-old, a teacher from the southwestern Yunnan province, first began feeling unwell in May 2018. Initially, her only symptom was a loss of appetite, and she assumed she simply had a stomach problem. She took a few pills, and thought nothing more of it. … Continue reading For China’s Middle-Aged Women, Depression Is an ‘Invisible Killer’

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 Liu is desperately trying to contain her excitement and not … Continue reading The Broadway Show Trying to Change China’s Tune on Mental Illness

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 gifts, and the families would split all subsequent costs 50/50 … Continue reading The Chinese Couples Going Dutch on Literally Everything

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