High-profile abuse victim criticized in China for forgiving ex-husband
American teacher Kim Lee has been hailed as a role model for domestic violence victims in China since 2011, when she initiated divorce proceedings against her celebrity husband in a landmark case that made legal history.  But Lee’s status as a voice for abused women came under attack last week, when she said she had forgiven her ex-husband. “My [ex] husband is a flawed person. His violent acts are beyond doubt, illegal and wrong,” she wrote in a long post in Chinese on the Twitter-like Weibo on Thanksgiving.  “But he is also the one who smiled like a child while feeding goldfish… more importantly, he is the father of my three lovely daughters.” The post has gone viral and shocked internet u
To spank or not to spank? That’s still a question for Chinese parents
On a day dedicated to preventing child abuse, Chinese people have found themselves debating a practice as old as civilization: beating children. In some parts of the world, April 30 is recognized as Spank Out Day, initiated in 1998 by an American children’s rights group fighting corporal punishment. While hitting children is illegal in the United States, it is not as heavily stigmatized in Chinese society, especially when the kids are your own. That’s why debates over whether corporal punishment is good or evil became a trending topic on China’s Twitter-like social media site Weibo on Tuesday. The topic, which translates literally as “The International Day of Not Beating Kids,” has been view
‘Bring back a wife’: a director comes out to his Chinese parents in Netflix film
Documentarian Hao Wu’s latest film, All in My Family, focuses on Chinese family tradition, gay relationships and children born using surrogacy through an extremely personal lens. The film – set for release on Netflix this Friday – was shot over a series of Lunar New Year trips to Chengdu, in southwest China, from New York, where he settled 20 years ago. We watch him agonize over when and how to tell his grandfather that he’s gay, married to his Chinese-American husband Eric and has two children: a boy and a girl born through surrogacy. “I wanted to show the challenges for gay people of Chinese descent, what kind of cultural and generational barriers and differences they have to negotiate in
Inside China’s five-star confinement hotel
Chinese culture dictates that mothers confine themselves indoors for a month after giving birth. Known as the “sitting month,” it’s meant to give the mother time to recuperate, and the baby time to grow strong. According to tradition, some mothers don't shower, wash their hair, or even brush their teeth for the month, and will not venture outdoors. In a modern, five-star twist on an age-old tradition, Chinese mothers pay up to $11,000 a month to stay at this luxury Shanghai "sitting center.”  
Cramming for the future
Today is the first day of gaokao, China’s national college entrance exam. It will be two palm-sweating, hair-raising days for nearly 10 million high school students, who will be tested on nearly 12 years of studies. Only 40% will score highly enough to enroll in China’s universities.  Every June, a massive ceremony in the rural town of Maotanchang, in the eastern province of Anhui, sends off busloads of students through cheering crowds, as they head to test centers.  The town is home to Asia’s largest cram school. Here, teenagers have been studying 16 hours a day, seven days a week – and their families have been with them every step of the way. We take you behind the scenes in this small rur
How China’s biggest test-prep school transforms a rural town
Red bean porridge, radish beef stew, carrot and water celery stir fry. 53-year-old Yuan Yingge carefully places dishes into two silver thermoses and gets ready to deliver dinner to her son. Before rushing out of her rented home, she grabs three whole walnuts and wraps a nutcracker in a red plastic bag. “Walnuts are good brain food,” she beams. Yuan has made this meal extra-nutritious for her son, who is one of the more than 20,000 students studying 16 hours a day and seven days a week at the Maotanchang High School, in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui. It’s been dubbed Asia’s largest exam prep “factory” thanks to its strict rules and massive size. The campus covers more than 2,500,000
Chinese students in Canada are being conned into filming fake hostage videos
Chinese students in Canada are being targeted by “virtual kidnappers.” Phone scammers have used an elaborate scheme that tricks their targets into filming “hostage videos” in which they pretend to be victims of kidnapping, Vancouver police said Wednesday. The videos are then used to extract ransoms from their family members in China. This conmen’s threats are somewhat believable: police in the victims’ home country have wide-ranging powers of detention, and extralegal detention is not uncommon. The police said that two separate ransoms had been paid over the weekend, and that there were 20 reports of similar cases last year. These scams typically involve convincing targets to hand over money
Chinese women are seeking divorce – and the courts are stopping them
Chinese women are trying to get out of unhappy marriages, but the courts are saying no. A new report from the Supreme People’s Court has revealed that more than 70% of the nearly three million divorce disputes in 2016 and 2017 were filed by wives. And, in 66% of all cases filed, the judges ruled the couples should remain together. More Chinese women have realized they should not stay in failed marriages Zhang Leilei, activist Divorce rates have been soaring in China as women become more financially independent and unwilling to live with troubled marriages. The “crude divorce rate” – which measures the number of separations for every 1,000 people in the population – doubled in the decade betw
Meet ‘Supermom,’ the single mother blazing a trail through the MMA
Up-and-coming mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Miao Jie has wowed fans around the world, but all that her family – and some of her friends – want her to do is find a new husband. “The older generation like to talk about why a young lady ends up a single mother," she says. "The gossip upset my parents at first, but they have come to accept it." Miao says Chinese society is changing. “More people have realized that a couple should not stick together if the marriage is not working. It is also bad for the children.”  The 30-year-old shot to prominence last year during her debut in Asia’s leading MMA contest, ONE Championship, when she took down her opponent, Egypt’s Mona Samir, in less than 50 s