SHANGHAI — For years, Gu Hong has enjoyed visiting the local deli near her home. Whenever the 73-year-old didn’t feel like cooking, she’d wander down the street to buy a steaming plate of sweet-and-sour ribs. Then Shanghai went into lockdown, and everything changed. When Gu returned to the deli in June, she found herself barred from entering. “The staff said I had to scan the … Continue reading In ‘Zero-COVID’ China, the Elderly Are Becoming Ever More Marginalized
SHANGHAI — Julia Li has spent much of the past few years wrestling with a dilemma: She was married, in her late 30s, and still undecided about whether to start a family. Li had been putting off having children for years, but now she was running out of time — and excuses. Her family and friends were urging her to have a baby on an … Continue reading China Is Pushing for a Baby Boom. It’s Getting a Baby Bust.
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.
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
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