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
Cells at Work! becomes first Japanese anime to hit Chinese airwaves in a decade
State-broadcaster CCTV has aired its first Japanese anime series in a decade, prompting speculation that it could be a small signal of improved relations between Japan and China.  Called Cells at Work!, the animation series takes place inside the human body and is being used in China to get people interested in human biology during the coronavirus pandemic. A post promoting the show by CCTV-6, the channel airing the program, read: “Whether you are an adult or a child, we hope you can know yourself better after watching Cells At Work! Be more aware and capable of protecting yourself during the [coronavirus] epidemic.” But the fact that the cartoon is foreign, and Japanese in particular, prom
Chinese family had to pay US$150,000 for their seven children
For Chinese families that want large families, it is not impossible to get around the country’s restrictive family planning policies – it’s just expensive.  For one woman in China, named Zhang Rongrong, her and her family has paid out more than US$155,000 in fines for having her seven children, five boys and two girls.  Without paying the fines, the children – five boys and two girls, including a set of twins, aged between one and 14 – would not have received their all-important identity documents. The large family is an exception that proves the rule, standing out in a country where women are increasingly reluctant to have babies, highlighted by a birth rate that plummeted in 2020.  China’
Calling all dads: lobby group demands men step up to childcare challenge
A women’s lobby group has called for legislation making parental leave for new dads mandatory in a bid to reverse China’s plummeting birthrate. Forcing fathers to be more involved in child care would boost gender equality and encourage more women to have children, said the Shanghai Women’s Federation (SWF) on the social media platform WeChat last month. Apart from the existing 128-day maternity leave and 10-day paternity leave, the SWF wants to add a shared parental leave policy that requires fathers to take at least a third of it, the organization said. “We hope that families would be encouraged by the public policies [to have children], without adding burdens to employers or worsening chi
Big archeology find at home of China’s terracotta army
The home of China’s terracotta army has once again revealed a treasure trove of archeologically significant artifacts, this time at an airport expansion project and the construction of a new subway line.  Over the past six months, archeologists at the sites in Xian, one of China’s oldest cities and its ancient capital for about 1,100 years, have discovered thousands of artifacts dating back centuries.  A project to expand the Xianyang International Airport has turned into an archeologist’s dream since the project began in July, revealing 4,600 artifacts, including 3,500 tombs.   At the subway, which covered an area with dense tombs dating back to the Sui dynasty (581-605) and Tang dynasty (
China wants to stop exodus of young children studying overseas
An increasing number of Chinese children – some as young as 10 – are being sent to schools abroad by their ambitious parents, new data shows.  More than 700,000 Chinese children were enrolled in schools overseas in 2019, an increase of 6% from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Education. That figure is expected to rise in the coming years, sparking concern from the Chinese government. In January, the Education Ministry said at a national conference that it would build “a mechanism to discourage minors from studying abroad.”  It believes that some children are too young to be sent so far away for their education.  But the parents of twelve-year-old Mingming, from Shanghai, disa
Most Chinese children sleep less than eight hours a day
The Chinese government is getting tough on schools after a growing body of evidence shows students are severely sleep-deprived.  Education Minister Chen Baosheng said lack of sleep was taking a toll on China’s children, and the government would add sleep time in its annual appraisal of schools.  A 2019 study from the Chinese Sleep Research Society showed that 63% of Chinese children aged between 6 to 17 get less than eight hours of sleep a night due to the heavy burden of homework. The number goes up to 81% among teenagers aged between 13 to 17.  “I think compared with their counterparts in Northern Europe and Australia, kids in East Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea all lack
China just issued a full ban on phones in schools
Chinese authorities have banned cellphones in classrooms and school grounds effective immediately in an effort to protect students from digital addiction and save their eyesight. The ban will apply to all schoolchildren across the country.  Chinese students will only be allowed to bring a mobile device to school only under special circumstances. However, during class, all devices would be surrendered to the teachers, said the ministry on its website on Monday. Aimed at “protecting the students’ eyesight and making them focus on study,” the ministry’s new rule strived to prevent student addiction to the internet while enhancing their physical and psychological development, the directive detai
Cultural icon ‘plagiarism’ sparks debate about art
A Chinese artist and academic has painted himself into a pickle with art lovers who have accused him of plagiarising cultural icons. But the artist, Feng Feng, a professor at one of China’s top fine-art academies, has hit back at critics, saying the works achieved his goal of getting people to talk about art. Feng stands accused of plagiarising Miffy, the world-famous cartoon rabbit created by a Dutch artist in 1955.  But he refuses to apologize for putting a duck’s beak on the cultural icon in his “Rabbitduck” series. “Plagiarism and appropriation represent two different attitudes,” Feng told Inkstone.   “Those who plagiarise often try to hide the original by making changes to it, and they
Sham divorces are driving up China’s overheated property market
Local and regional Chinese governments are cracking down on couples file for “fake divorces” to buy multiple homes. In China, families are restricted by rules that limit the number of homes they can own – a number that varies between major cities. However, resourceful residents keen to buy into residential investment opportunities have started filing for divorce as a tool to circumvent the restrictions. In Shanghai, a person with a hukou, or permanent residency, is legally entitled to buy two properties at most. Those without permanent residence can only buy one. But for years, crafty couples have been faking divorces to take advantage of the city’s first-time homebuyer scheme, which allows
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