Jane Cai

Jane Cai

Bureau Chief, Beijing

Jane is a contributor to Inkstone. She is the Beijing Bureau Chief of the South China Morning Post.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Economy, finance
China’s poorest are battling to survive
Li Ming, a 36-year-old marketing manager for a car company in Beijing, is feeling the pinch for the first time in her life. When the coronavirus outbreak started, car sales slumped and she was furloughed from her job in February. To make matters worse, her husband, who works for an airline, has also had to take a 40% pay cut. “Suddenly half our household income evaporated,” Li said. “I haven’t had a decent sleep for months. We have a mortgage to pay and two children. They are a heavy burden now.” Li was able to save 12,000 yuan ($1,700) a month by firing the family’s domestic helper. “I explained and told her not to come back after the Lunar New Year holiday, which she was spending with her
How food delivery became backbone of China’s coronavirus fight
When Liu Yilin, a retired middle school teacher in Wuhan, first heard rumors of a highly contagious disease spreading in the central Chinese city, he started to stock up on supplies such as rice, oil, noodles and dried fish. These preparations spared the 66-year-old from some of the early panic when the city went into lockdown in late January and shoppers flooded to the markets and malls to snap up supplies. But as time went on, and with residents banned from leaving their homes, he became increasingly concerned about getting hold of fresh supplies of vegetables, fruit and meat.  Thankfully, the nation’s vast network of delivery drivers came to the rescue. “It was such a relief that several
The women on the front line of China’s war on coronavirus
For more than a month, Sun Chunlan has worked in the epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak, witnessing first the virus’ rapid spread in early February and then its easing in recent days.  She is the lone woman in China’s political leadership, the 25-member Politburo, and the most senior official to have spent considerable time on the ground in the central province of Hubei, where the epidemic was first reported. Despite what analysts said was limited official coverage of her leadership, Sun and other women taking on the tough jobs on the front line of China’s response to the outbreak have found themselves in the firing line for blame and at the center of a controversial state media campa
China’s coronavirus outbreak might be linked to adventurous eating
Before its closure, exotic animals – from snakes to civets – were available at a wet market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.  That market is ground zero of a new virus killing people with pneumonia-like symptoms and it is infecting growing numbers of others around the world. According to official reports, as of 11pm Wednesday, the previously unknown coronavirus had killed 17 people and infected more than 500 others. Most of the infections and all of the deaths were in Hubei province where Wuhan is located. 375 of the infections were in the city itself.  Many worked or lived near Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, which experts believe is the source of the outbreak, with the virus jumping
‘Comrade Trump’ hailed for spurring reforms in China
US President Donald Trump may have his critics in China, but some internet users have suggested, albeit sarcastically, that he has been a positive force for the country.  They joke that he is acting as a catalyst for much-needed reforms. In social media circles and even on some academic forums, the American leader earned the nickname Comrade “Chuan Jianguo,” which translates as “Trump Building the Nation.”  The backhanded compliment stems from the assumption that, by starting a trade war with China, Trump unwittingly forced the country into a program of domestic reforms to counter its impact. Such is people’s familiarity with the nickname that Wang Manchuan, head of the public administration
The trade war has China’s liberals pushing for change
The trade war between China and the US has spelled economic pain for everyone and everything from car-makers to aircraft carriers… and perhaps even regular American Christmas shoppers. But Chinese liberals are using the impact of the trade war to press Beijing to reform and further open up the economy, the South China Morning Post has learned. About a dozen intellectuals in government-backed think tanks have been calling for key reforms through lobbying policymakers – chief among them Liu He, the country’s vice-premier and chief trade negotiator. Many of the reforms sought correspond to America’s own demands in the trade war – such as ending subsidies and preferential treatment, reducing th
Solo gyms and karaoke for one: welcome to the loneliness economy
Mini karaoke booths, one-person gyms and games that offer virtual friendship: welcome to China’s loneliness economy. The country has an estimated 200 million single people, and firms have cottoned on to the fact that singles are increasingly affluent and want to spend their cash. Take the case of twenty-something Beijinger Jodie Zuo, who paid $4 to sing for 15 minutes in a corner of a supermarket in Beijing on a Sunday afternoon. “I just planned to buy some snacks,” she said. “Tempted by the mini karaoke, I sang eight songs and it made me feel less bored.” Tucked away in shopping malls, cinemas, airports and even subway stations, there are now at least 20,000 mini karaoke booths operating a