South Asia and Beyond

A Guide To Contemporary China

 A Guide To Contemporary China

Operation Bright Eyes

China’s Ministry of Education has launched “Child and Adolescent Myopia Prevention and Control Bright Action Work Plan (2021-2025)” or ‘Operation Bright Eyes.’ Statistics show that the overall myopia rate of children and adolescents in the country exceeds 50%, and high school students are as high as 80%. Even children under six years of age have a myopia rate close to 15%. The ministry has organised a program by which students can “love” their eyes through “releasing academic burden and strengthening outdoor activities and physical exercises.” Health and education experts say this is urgent as early onset of myopia can lead to eye diseases such as glaucoma and can also rule out candidates from certain industries for employment.

Source: Xinhua

Quotations of the ‘New Great Helmsman’

The cult of personality is alive and flourishing in China. Witness the adulation showered on President Xi Jinping and his elevation to the grand ranks of China’s greatest leaders. The latest contribution to the range of hagiography on him is an advertisement on “900 Quotations of Xi Jinping’s Governance of China”. It is a book containing his sayings on a wide range of topics, from “We will be more conscientous in promoting green, circular and low carbon development”, to “We should continue to catch ‘tigers’ as well as ‘flies’ when dealing with … violation of party discipline”. We are also helpfully informed that the book is being “continuously updated” with the great leader’s sayings on IT, online information and countering terrorism. Should make a great read!


Smart Manufacturing Tech For BRI

High-end intelligent manufacturing equipment will play a crucial role in China’s development of the BRI. At the recent 5th Silk Road International Exposition in Xi’an, capital city of northwest Shaanxi province, local media reported that smart technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), robotics and AI (artificial intelligence) was on display and how industry can use such technologies to improve productivity. However, officials stressed that all these technologies showcased at the expo will also be used for development of the BRI. As a Chinese media report stated. “The participants (at the expo) are committed to join efforts to push for deeper Belt and Road economic cooperation and put it high on the agenda.”

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Running Out Of Lab Monkeys

Chinese scientists are facing an unusual problem – they are running out of lab monkeys. Trade restrictions and increase in bio-medical research has affected the supply of monkeys. This could become a major problem as lab monkeys are crucial in developing a vaccine for Covid-19. Before any new drug can reach the market, it must face a safety test, which means it must be tried on monkeys. It isn’t just Covid, crucial medical research into stem cells and gene editing is being affected. Money won’t fix the problem. Zhao Shengli, secretary of the China Laboratory Primate Breeding and Development Association (CLPBADA), states that despite medical researchers being willing to pay higher rates – the price of lab monkeys has soared from 15,000 yuan ($2,280) per monkey in late 2016 to the current 62,000 yuan ($9,600) they still can’t get them. The reason is simple: China is not breeding enough of them.


Crazy About LARPing

China’s Generation X has been gripped by a hot new trend LARPing or in its full form – Live Action Role Playing. What this means is that players take on the role of a character in a murder mystery, historical drama romance – either online or offline – and either fights or schemes his or her way to emerge victorious. The trend which first began in 2016 is now a multi-billion dollar industry in the country. According to data analysis and market research company iiMedia, 84.9% of Chinese netizens surveyed have participated in a LARP game either online or offline. iiMedia also predicted that the market size of LARP will reach 17 billion RMB ($263 million) by the end of 2021, up from 10 billion RMB ($154 million) in 2019.