Alice Yan

Alice Yan

Social news reporter, China

Alice Yan is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a Shanghai-based social and medical news reporter at the South China Morning Post.

Location
Shanghai
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
China's social news
Chinese parents give poor grades to no homework plan
A Chinese provincial government's directive banning schools from giving homework to young students in the interests of a more balanced life has sparked controversy. Last week, a Department of Education in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province issued orders forbidding schools from giving written homework to students in grades one and two (around ages 6-8). It also banned schools from allowing students in grades three to six (ages 8-12) to do more than one hour a day of homework while, for students in grades seven to nine (ages 12-15), 90 minutes was the maximum time per day they could spend on it each day, the department said. The rule is not new, but simply a reinforcement of an earlier reg
No, this is not a fruit basket
The centerpieces were marketed as fruit baskets, and for unwitting foreigners, the product had the appeal of an exotic antique from thousands of miles away.  Turns out, the “fruit basket” was a traditional spittoon or chamber part, and some merchants were marking the price up by a factor of 20.  The item was also found in other online shops with suggested uses being an ice bucket or for decorating the kitchen.  But it wasn’t just the high price tag attached to the item, traditionally known as a tan yu in China, that had internet users surprised, but also that the humble pot would be of any interest to foreigners.  “I wonder what foreigners’ reaction would be after knowing what tan yu is use
‘It changed my life’: China’s poverty eradication plan pays dividends
For a mother, no burden is insurmountable. And a 32-year-old Beijing woman, whose image went viral a decade ago on the first day of the Spring Festival is living proof of this. Shown struggling under the weight of a bulging bag that was strapped to her back, a baby in one hand and a backpack gripped by the other, the photograph – and mother’s plight - broke hearts across China when it was released online. Since then, the photographer and journalist Zhou Ke has attempted to find the subject of the photo – a haunting depiction of the hardship and poverty faced by millions. After an eleven-year search, Zhou last month finally realized his dream when he tracked down the woman and made the heart
Chinese expert mocked for urban-rural matchmaking idea
China is staring at a looming demographic crisis, but one expert’s proposal to matchmake urban “leftover” women with rural men has been widely mocked for being out of touch. Wu Xiuming, deputy secretary-general of the Shanxi Think Tank Development Association, a non-governmental organization in central China that specializes in social development research, urged women to not to “feel afraid to go and live in rural villages.” In China, sheng nu, or “leftover women”, is a term used to describe unmarried – although usually highly educated and urban – women over the age of 27. But Wu’s proposal is being criticized as being “out of touch” to the huge cultural and lifestyle disparity between the
Chinese minority languages face extinction
China’s minority languages face the threat of extinction, a new study has found. A WordFinder study, based on UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, has found that 25 ethnic minority languages in China are now being pushed to the brink of extinction. One language, known as Fuyu Kyrgyz, can be traced back to central Siberia three centuries ago, but is now only spoken by 10 elderly residents of Fuyu County, in China’s northernmost Heilongjiang province, the study found. Li Jinfang, an ethnic minority language researcher from Beijing’s Minzu University of China, believed China’s urbanization and rapidly developing economy had contributed to the decline, with people finding it more
Hitting children could soon be banned in China
Should spanking a child be against the law? It may soon be in China as a new law appears ready to be passed by the country’s top legislative body. If it is approved by the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, the country will join dozens of nations to make it illegal to hit children, even under the guise of home discipline. But the proposed new law has reignited debate online, with supporters and critics split over a “spare the rod, spoil the child” view on parenting. The well-used proverb represents a view that if a parent refuses to discipline an unruly child, that child will grow up to become a spoiled brat. Besides showing no tolerance for families who subject their children
Xi Jinping wears a parka and the company’s stock soars
While stock markets are known to fluctuate in reaction to global events, it seems they also now respond to fashion choices. Chinese President Xi Jinping has sparked a financial fashion frenzy when he wore a US$1000 cobalt blue parka that sent the stock market soaring on Tuesday. Xi was wearing the coat while inspecting the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics site, and the images were splashed around news bulletins but barely caused a ripple on social media – because of the brand’s elite urban customer base. However, its impact was felt most on the Hong Kong stock market with the Anta Group – who own the brand Arc’teryx – jumping to 9.4% – on the same day. An official sponsor of the 2022 ga
Chinese female bodybuilder with one leg aims to help 85 million people just like her
Gui Yuna has achieved more than most in her young life. At just 37-years-old, the Chinese mother-of-one, prize-winning bodybuilder, Olympian and world-record holder is no slouch when it comes to kicking big goals - despite having lost a leg in a tragic accident when she was just seven. Bullied relentlessly throughout school and discriminated against while searching for work, Gui’s biggest disability was the way other people saw her. On January 20, 2021, her birthday, Gui’s greatest reward is the steps she is taking to help millions of Chinese like her believe they can do anything. Something she is living proof of. With help from a local disability association in Yancheng, in the eastern Jia
Three of the quirkiest stories to add some whimsy to your 2021
2021 has already proven to be a year of serious historical events, but that does not mean it lacks whimsy.  Here are three of the quirkiest stories from China to start this year.  The tale of a celebrity pig This swine has been through everything, surviving the odds to become a national icon and a sign of Chinese resilience after being buried alive for more than a month in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Now, 12 years on, fans of ‘Zhu Jianqiang’ meaning ‘Strong Pig’ are cheering for the survival of the country’s favorite porker, at least until after the Chinese New Year celebrations in February are over. Entering old age, Zhu is struggling to pull her weight and stand without help, spending da
Investigation into Chinese infant skin cream after it caused extreme weight gain
A company stands accused of illegally adding hormones to baby lotion that caused a five-month-old girl to grow so big, so quickly, that she faced serious health concerns. After using the anti-bacterial lotion named Yifuling on their daughter to treat her eczema, the girl’s parents were alarmed to see their daughter rapidly balloon to 24 pounds. With cheeks so heavy they hung past her jawline, the baby girl’s forehead protruded abnormally and became covered in hair. They said she had also suffered developmental delays and stunted growth. Fearing the baby was allergic to her mother’s breast milk, they took their daughter – nicknamed Pomelo – for testing but doctors found no abnormalities. Wit