Mandy Zuo

Mandy Zuo

Reporter, China

Mandy is a contributor to Inkstone, and a Shanghai-based China reporter for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Shanghai
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
China
Chinese switched-at-birth boy fighting for his life
A Chinese baby switched at birth almost three decades ago, is now a grown man fighting for his life in hospital less than a year after being reunited with his biological parents. Mistakenly given to the wrong parents by hospital staff 28 years ago, Yao Ce has been waging a battle against advanced liver cancer after being diagnosed in February last year. The mistake may have directly led to Yao’s poor health. As a baby born with Hepatitis B, Yao should have been given a high-dosage vaccine shortly after birth because he had inherited the condition from his biological mother, Du, who is a Hepatitis B carrier.  The hospital mistakenly gave the vaccine to the healthy baby born to Xu instead, le
Live in a poor area? Don't smoke or you're more likely to be poor yourself
Families with smokers from poor parts of China are 10% more likely to live in poverty than people from the same region who don’t smoke.  A recent study by a Beijing-based research team found over 23% of families with at least one smoker were found be to be poverty-stricken, compared with just over 13% of those without. The survey analyzed more than 2,400 households in eight less-developed provinces in China. Overall, the tobacco use rate in poor areas is higher than the national average, according to the research released last Thursday conducted by a team from Beijing Normal University’s School of Social Development and Public Policy.  More than 34% of the population in poor areas smoke, co
China is trying to press mute on noisy public transportation
Major cities in China are trying to lower the din on public transportation by introducing “quiet cars” or punishing people for using their phone speakers with no headphones on the subway.  In China, there are differences in opinion about whether or not being noisy in public should be regarded as impolite because it can be interpreted as a sign of vibrancy and energy.   But for large swaths of the younger generations, it is important to be quiet on public transportation to show respect to other passengers. Authorities in China appear to have decided that quiet is better.  Last week, Chinese railway authorities started offering a “quiet train carriage” for some high-speed routes. According to
The days of the Chinese mega skyscraper appear to be over
China is home to 44 of the world’s 100 tallest buildings, including the 128-story Shanghai Tower, the second tallest in the world at 2,073 ft. But China is also home to one of the tallest unfinished towers anywhere, the Goldin Finance 117 – otherwise known as the China 117 – in Tianjin, a major port city a couple of hours away from Beijing.   When it broke ground 12 years ago, the hope was that the mega skyscraper eclipse the Shanghai Tower as the tallest building outside of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. But financial difficulties saw construction grind to a halt in 2015 and the construction on the mega tower has been delayed repeatedly and remains suspended today, according to the local gover
Baseball boys: Movie portrays struggle of China’s growing number of ‘left-behind’ children
An image of poor young rural Chinese boys swinging baseball bats in a bid for a better life has moved a nation to tears with the release of a new documentary that sheds light on the lives of the country’s “left-behind” children. The documentary, Tough Out, opened last week to critical acclaim and is a devastating reflection of the reality faced by seven million children who have been left behind in rural China by parents forced to move to the cities in search of work.  Named best documentary in this year’s FIRST International Film Festival, it focuses on a group of boys from across rural China brought to Beijing to play baseball by Qiangbang Angels Baseball Base, a charity set up by Sun Ling
Chinese granny finds freedom in ‘Eat Pray Love’ road trip
After living with a nitpicking husband for over 30 years, supporting her daughter to finish university and raising her grandchildren to preschool age, 56-year-old Su Min decided it was time for her to be just herself. While most of the Chinese women at her age would be babysitting their grandchildren or cooking and washing clothes for their husbands, Su started a solo road trip in September with her white Volkswagen Polo that she bought with two years’ savings from taking odd jobs. Without a planned destination or a return date, she drove away from her home in Zhengzhou, a transportation hub in central China, to claim responsibility for her own contentment for the first time. “When I left t
A soccer team in China forfeited a match because ‘hair not black enough’
There are various reasons a soccer team loses a match, but the color of its players’ hair is certainly a new one.  A women’s soccer team in China was banned by officials from taking the field because their players’ hair was “not black enough.”  The team from Fuzhou University was scheduled to play Jimei University in the south-eastern province of Fujian as part of a two-week tournament, but was told by officials beforehand it was in breach of the rules that ban jewelry, “strange hairstyles” and dyed hair. Coaches tried frantically to rectify the issue before kick-off, acquiring black hair dye from nearby salons, but some of the players’ hair was deemed “not black enough.” “In reality, it’s
Illegal structures are widespread, and deadly, in China
Self-built suspended balconies. A mountain mansion built on top of a rooftop. An ariel corridor built above a pedestrian walkway.   Amid fast urbanization and a booming property market, China has witnessed all kinds of illegal structures in the past decades.  The latest example is a group of buildings in Shanghai, allegedly converted from a factory workshop into office buildings and dormitories by inserting new floors. While less wacky than a traditional Chinese courtyard build on top of a roof, the problem, in this case, is that the addition of the new floors has resulted in the building showing signs of structural damage.   The Boyang Enterprise Business Park, reconstructed from a major p
The strange, ridiculous and cruel dog ownership rules in China
From dog-walking bans to cash rewards for people who kill stray dogs, the attempt by grassroots community managers in China to control the country’s booming dog population is often at odds with the growing popularity of pet ownership. And despite complaints from non-pet owners, the central government appears ready to embrace a pet-friendly future. In April, China’s Ministry of Agriculture explicitly stated for the first time that dogs are “companions” and not “livestock.” But only 22% of households own a pet, a number that is expected to grow in the coming years, according to Alizila, a blog from Alibaba (which owns Inkstone). The growth of pet ownership creates teething issues in China as
What's hot in China now?
While the coronavirus threat still looms, China has mostly been able to re-open its society after controlling the pandemic within its borders.  The return to normalcy has allowed people to focus on other things, such as a new frenzy for long distance running or the hot new show on television.  Here are three of the hottest trends from the month of November.  Marathon golden month  China’s middle class has embraced fitness as part of their culture, and it has recently manifested itself in a marathon craze.  At least 32 marathons were held in November, usually the golden month for long distance running in China. On the weekend of November 8 alone, 13 cities around China organized a race. Howe