Stephanie Karlik

Category: China News

China’s “Leftover” Men and Women: Over 30% Masturbate through the Pressure

A recent report by China’s Sohu News highlights the pressures faced by China’s single demographic referred to as “leftovers.”

Made up of men and women between the ages of 30 and 39 and unmarried, China is now seeing a drastic increase in the leftover segment of the population.

The number of estimated leftover men in China is about 12 million individuals, while an estimated 5.8 million leftover women inhabit the nation with a population of 1.35 billion.

Concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, and other tier one cities, leftover women tend to have higher levels of education and higher salaries, with about 48% possessing a master’s degree or higher and 36% earning over 15000 yuan monthly ($2450 U.S.). Many leftover women express that they expect future male partners to have adequate financial resources before getting married. Thirty-seven percent acknowledge that salary is a significant consideration in their partner search.

On the leftover men’s side, most can be found in China’s more populated areas of Guangxi, Guangdong, and Jiangxi. About half do not own property or a car and have lower incomes than leftover women.  Thirty percent make less than 2000 yuan monthly ($3265 U.S.) and 16% have no income at all. Nevertheless, a significant portion of China’s leftover men are highly educated with about 37% percent possessing master’s degrees or higher. While salary tends to be of greater concern to leftover women, physical appearance is high on the priority list for leftover men. Over half admit that a woman’s physical appearance is a major factor in their partner search.

The outcomes of such high numbers of unmarried working people in China include complaints about the opposite sex, many leftover men claiming that women are too independent while leftover women speak of a lack of self-confidence among the men.

Additionally, about 75% of all leftovers suffer from high stress levels citing loneliness and unhappiness in their lives.

This has been connected to poor lifestyle habits, many leftovers admitting to staying up all night restless, suffering from lack of sleep and insomnia, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and bingeing late night.

But perhaps most interesting is how these singles in the city resolve their sexual urges.  About 17.6% of leftovers have a steady sexual partner and 21.6% abstain for extended periods, but the highest percentage, about 31.4% admit to masturbating to alleviate sexual pressure.

While such a situation is mirrored in urban areas all over the world, the prospects for such leftover men and women in China may not be too encouraging. In an environment of traditionally high societal pressure to get married and produce offspring for the continuation of bloodlines, China’s leftovers are expected to grow to an estimated 30 million individuals by 2020. This comes as a result of uneven gender distribution from China’s one-child policy and steady population growth in the world’s most populous country.

Some of China’s leftover set have accordingly come to embrace their leftover status, asserting that they have no desires for marriage or children in the future.

Chinese Journalists Lose Critical Voice and Global Credibility

A critical attitude is one of the most important characteristics of a journalist.

But in order to enhance ideological unity, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently called on all Chinese government officials to combat “rumor spreaders” in the country and to win the battle for “public opinion,” cracking down on online dissenters and their critical attitudes towards the state.

Accordingly, the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department announced that the nation will require its 307,000 reporters, producers, and editors to sit through at least two days of Marxism classes.

Chinese journalists initially reacted with a kind of silenced apathy, one investigative reporter for the Southern Weekly stating that he was “speechless” in response to the new requirement.

But beyond losing a voice in Chinese society with Xi Jinping’s announcement, Chinese reporters now face the loss of journalistic credibility internationally and are slowly speaking out about it anonymously.

According to a reporter for China’s Sina News, the Berliner Zeitung in Germany claims that “professional conduct standards for Chinese journalists will now be more blurred,” and China’s new “ideological requirement” will force journalists to abandon their critical duties.

The Berliner Zeitung goes on to say, “In comparison to publications from the ‘80s and ‘90s, Chinese media today is vibrant and diverse. Before, from content to language and layout, practically all Chinese newspapers were the same. Now, however, China has over 2000 newspaper outlets and around 9500 magazine publishers covering topics from astronomy to local construction projects and garden design. Even topics related to homosexuality and domestic violence were common and critical attitudes were the norm.”

But as a result of the new policy announcement, the Berliner Zeitung fears that Chinese journalists will not only feel pressured to hold their tongues on matters related to religion, Tibet, Taiwan, and Tiananmen. The German news source expresses concern that Chinese journalists will not be at liberty to speak critically about much at all.

According to an anonymous Chinese online journalist, “Most journalists who were looking for journalistic freedom have left China’s newspaper industry or aligned themselves with the Chinese government’s wishes.”

And while ideological unity reform plays out in China, more reporters being forced into anonymity or out of the journalistic field, credibility abroad for China’s content creators drops.

Chinese reporters are further muffled and silenced.

Foreign reporters further lose sense of what’s actually happening on the ground in China.

And the Party is the new editorial department.

New Silk Road Advances New Great Game

Speaking on September 7th in Astana, Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping sketched out a plan for a “Silk Road” economic belt between China and Central Asia, marking the first time that Beijing has officially proposed such an ambitious economic tie.

In a trip to Central Asia that included visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgzystan among appearances at the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summits, Xi made strong moves to further develop the New Silk Road amidst a turbulent global economic climate.

Xi was quoted as saying that the new economic belt “boasts a three-billion population and a market that is unparalleled both in scale and potential.” In fact, trade between China and the major five Central Asian countries has expanded from $460 million in 1992 to an impressive $46 billion in 2012 due in large part to the growing trade ties between the regions in recent years.

But with the Chinese economy now slowing down after three decades of rapid expansion, Chinese leaders aim to develop central and western areas in the country further. This includes the Xinjiang region bordering several Central Asian states.

Xinjiang’s stability is still threatened by a number of security concerns including ethnic tensions, Uighur uprisings, and violent separatist attempts. Xinjiang Ribao reports that “Xinjiang’s stability has a bearing on the stability of the whole country and Xinjiang’s development has a bearing on the development of the whole country.”

With this in mind, Chinese leaders are pushing for the New Silk Road as a means to strengthen Xinjiang economically while enhancing ties with Central Asia, making the national economy less export-dependent and more consumption-driven.

Xi expressed his desire for the New Silk Road to be as extensive as the original Silk Road, an 11,000 kilometer-long series of trade routes reaching from China to the Mediterranean Sea during the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century BC.

The term “New Silk Road” began to be circulated by international policymakers, journalists, and scholars in the 1990s, when China adopted a “going out” strategy to build pipelines and trade routes in the Central Asian region in order to satisfy its mounting energy needs. In turn, Chinese policymakers have co-opted this term and used this narrative to fortify historical sentiments in the region while bolstering trade.

But China’s aggressive “look west” New Silk Road development policy may not be so warmly welcomed by other powers looking to have influence in Central Asia, namely Russia and the U.S.

Though China has labeled the SCO, created in 1996 and with Russia as a member, an “all-win situation,” fostering “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and seeking common development,” in an atmosphere of “non-alliance, non-confrontation and not being directed against any third party,” Russian and American policymakers still look at the regional powerhouse with a skeptical eye.

In fact, the complicated triangular relationship between the U.S., China, and Russia in competition for control of Central Eurasia is part of the larger “New Great Game,” what analysts describe as playing out between the U.S., UK and other NATO countries against Russia, China, and other SCO countries for “influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus.”

Who the real allies and adversaries in the New Great Game are is still up in the air, however.

China and Russia formally acknowledged their mutual interest in the Central Asian region with the creation of the SCO in 1996, but it was seen as a deliberate move against the U.S. and its economic interests.

Following the September 11th terrorist attacks and American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the SCO was forced to take a back seat to the American agenda.

Simultaneously, rising concerns about Chinese hegemony has caused many Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, to reconsider China’s potential dominance across the Asian continent.

In 2004, Professor Stephen Blank of the Strategic Studies Institute stated, “President Vladimir Putin has expressed displeasure recently with the ministry’s performance, carrying out a personnel reshuffle and warning that Russia’s dominant role in the Commonwealth of Independent States is endangered. Not only is the West encroaching on Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, China is also making substantial economic inroads, especially in Central Asia.”

While Putin’s public comments following the SCO summit of 2013 were outwardly positive, observers wonder if Moscow’s privately planning its next regional chess move, viewing China as more of an adversary than an ally.

As for U.S. interest, among various regional concerns for the global superpower are those of securing oil resources alongside China’s similarly voracious oil appetite.

Beginning in 1993, China became a net importer of oil. By 1995, it was reported that the country was using about 400,000 barrels a day. By 2010, its consumption was at about 3.6 million barrels a day. And by 2012, that number had reached 10.3 million, making China the number two consumer of oil behind the United States.

The U.S., on no shortage of occasions, has made its discomfort with China’s ascending geopolitical position known, however, it’s not just China that the U.S. is trying to outbid in the developing Central Asian region but Russia, as well.

Hillary Clinton, when serving as U.S. Secretary of State, had laid out the U.S. “New Silk Road Initiative” saying, “Turkmen gas fields could help meet both Pakistan’s and India’s growing energy needs and provide significant transit revenues for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajik cotton could be turned into Indian linens. Furniture and fruit from Afghanistan could find its way to the markets of Astana or Mumbai and beyond.”

Yet the U.S., currently mindful of unnecessary government spending, has essentially backed away from these initiatives.

While the U.S. cautiously considers its position in the Central Asian steppe and Russia goes through the motions of cooperation with China, it’s clear that President Xi’s New Silk Road push in Kazakhstan is a big step in China’s march to economic development and regional stability.

How the New Great Game continues to play out in the future, and who’s bluffing whom has yet to be seen.

Chinese Netizens Comment on 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The news that Tokyo will be hosting the 2020 Olympic games set the world abuzz with excitement, but it’s the proposed budget for the event that has Chinese netizens buzzing with bitterness towards their own government.

Japan’s planned budget of about $3.3 billion dollars is less than ten percent of the approximate $40 billion dollars spent on Beijing’s 2008 summer games.

The budget announcement triggered lively discussion among Chinese citizens online through forums like Weibo and Renmin Net. Some netizens cited that corruption among government officials in Japan wasn’t as rampant as China’s and as a result, Japanese officials spent national funds more cautiously. Other commenters noted that Chinese officials spent carelessly because the money to fund the 2008 Olympics was not their own, rather, came from the sweat and blood of Chinese commoners.

While it’s widely believed that criticism of the Chinese government by Chinese citizens, online or offline, is strictly forbidden, statements against the Chinese government are frequently made on Weibo, a site that’s been called China’s Twitter. Nevertheless, comment threads and discussions deemed to be the most inflammatory are oftentimes deleted by the government in an effort to keep national order.

(Source: Sina)

Chinese Woman Has Bad Trip

(photo courtesy of Global Post)

September 6, 2013 18:50 EST

Bystanders looked on in horror as a Chinese woman stood atop a bridge railing in Chongqing on the evening of September 5th, screaming that she had “passed into the Tang Dynasty.”

While she called out to the “emperor,” an alarmed bystander called local police. After arriving at the scene, the police successfully coaxed the woman into stepping down from the railing. Addressing police officers as “your majesty,” the woman was brought to the local police station for questioning, where she continued to speak incoherently about the Tang emperor.

It was later revealed that the woman had consumed a considerable amount of methamphetamines prior to the incident and was experiencing the hallucinatory effects of the drug. The Chongqing Dazu police department is keeping the woman in detention while they investigate the source of the illegal substance.

While the amount of time it took for bystanders to call for help at the scene is unknown, that the woman in question came out unscathed is notable. Foreign observers have long criticized Chinese citizens’ failure to call for help for others in emergency situations.

(Source: Sina)