Profile: Singing from Factory

In a room at the in-patients’ department of Longhua People’s hospital in Shenzhen, a young couple was taking care of their child, an 18-month old boy who suffers from asthma. Zhang Feng, father of the child, is the founder of Wujiaoxing, a punk band composed of migrant workers from Shenzhen industrial park. They are now working on their first album.

Migrant workers, often unskilled and coming from the less prosperous hinterlands, have been called the backbone of China’s economic engine. Zhang Feng became one of this 277 million floating population in May 2012, when he was a 23-year-old university senior. He got a job as an industrial engineer in Shenzhen, in a factory owned by Foxconn, which produced iPads and Macs for Apple but became known in 2010 and 2011 for a suicide spate. Since then, workers’ difficult living conditions have drawn public attention.

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Profile: From Activist to Student

At the exit of a metro station, a young short-haired woman wearing a yellow down jacket and carrying a gray backpack with a rainbow ribbon was waiting patiently for her friend. She may look like a typical college student, but Li Maizi is a well-known feminist and lesbian activist who is pushing for gender equality and gay rights in China.

She is perhaps best known for getting arrested on March 7, 2015, as she and four feminist allies planned to hand out stickers protesting sexual harassment on buses and subways.

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Critique of Film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a 91-minute documentary film about Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics, directed by Alison Klayman. Alison’s shooting last for almost three years from November 2008 to June 2011, covering most of Ai’s significant activities in China and overseas during that period.

As Alison said in an interview, she hopes her audience can get to know Ai as person, “going behind the headlines and the iconography”, and know more about contemporary China. The film also shows individual courage, the power of social media, why rules of law, and transparency and freedom of expression are important to any society.

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Op-ed: Do Responsible Journalism

If you search “left-behind children” on Google, the world’s most popular search engine, you get 62.4 million results, which number is close to 61 million – the population of left-behind children in China. Then you click on the first piece of news, by the South China Morning Post, and find three sentences emphasized – “China’s ‘left-behind children’ at higher risk of life of crime,” “Tragic accidents just part of a hard life for China’s 60 million ‘left-behind children’,” and “‘Left-behind children’ found stabbed to death in southern China.” Under the spotlight put by media in this way, these children are being stigmatized, stereotyped and discriminated against.

“Life of crime,” “tragic accidents,” “stabbed to death,” these words are what most people come up with when they think about “left-behind children” in China. Although these incidents happen, we have to admit that not every child whose parents are working in urban areas away from their rural hometown is suffering from “tragic accidents” or committing criminal acts.

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Chinese People Are Not Ready to Retire

In November 2015, Citibank and AIA jointly released a report titled “Report on Chinese Citizens’ Preparation for the Retirement” (Zhong Guo Ju Min Yang Lao Zhun Bei Dong Cha Bao Gao). The research covers 13 cities, including 4 first-tire cities and 9 second-tire ones.

China has long been faced with its prominent aging issue. According to the report, 32 percent of the average-aged-58 retired interviewees said they hadn’t prepared well before retiring. Based on their economic reserve, they predict the current living standards can be maintained for about 10 years. For them, the reality differs from their ideal of comfort. Decline in economic capacity, high cost of medical expenses, and being divorced from society are problems the retired may encounter.

However, those who have not retired yet hold positive opinions. Among them, almost 70 percent are longing for the happy days to come; more than 40 percent believe they can manage it with a good plan; about 30 percent are planning to retire earlier.

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Adventures in light

Source: Global Times Published: 2015-3-4 19:03:01

Japanese artist uses glass and paper to explore the inner world

One day in 1993, Japanese artist Hitomi Uchikura (pictured below) was painting and sculpturing in her studio when her eye struck a pile of broken glass. Hitomi became enchanted by the sun shining on the surfaces.

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From then on, Hitomi started using light and glass in her work. She now explores the possibilities of light through a series of installations that use glass surfaces and pure white paper.

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