For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:
- Young adults are getting more involved in tackling one of China’s most pressing issues: the country’s rapidly aging population.
- During the on-again, off-again campus lockdowns in China, college students have turned to a new hobby to stay sane: crafting cardboard pets.
- As the popularity of short video platforms surges, some tourism bureaus in China have turned to Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, to promote local tourism.
- A delivery driver’s monthly salary breakdown has prompted online discussion about unfair working conditions for food delivery employees in China.
Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.
Aging can look very different in different parts of the world. In China, for instance, many older citizens are known for their athleticism. They can often be seen exercising in public parks and swimming outdoors, even during Beijing’s frigid winter.
However, not all older people in China are sporty and self-sufficient. The country is home to one of the fastest-aging populations in the world. According to government data, there were more than 264 million Chinese citizens above the age of 60 in 2021, and that number is estimated to grow to a staggering 402 million by 2040.
To adapt to this massive demographic shift, universities around China have introduced gerontology majors, also known as ‘aging studies.’
Furthermore, it’s heartening to see many Chinese youths becoming more involved in caring for the country’s retirees than ever before.
An especially heartwarming example of this trend occurs in a nursing home in Ya’an, Sichuan province. Founded by Janet and June, two friends in their 20s, in 2018, the establishment is now home to 128 older people and has earned the nickname ‘Happy Nursing Home.’
In an interview with Chinese digital media outlet Yi Tiao, the founders said that their unusual career choice was driven by very personal reasons.
“Because of our own family members, we visited many nursing homes and felt that getting old was really scary,” they said. “Elders were crammed into dark rooms, and the nurses would treat them like objects.”
To avoid older adults experiencing feelings of being abandoned and marginalized, Janet and June built a place where they would feel safe and happy.
Xie Wei, the bureau chief of the Tourism and Culture Bureau of Suizhou, a city in Hubei province, recently went viral thanks to a creative video promoting the local natural landscape and traditional culture.
Xie, who is not afraid of getting his hands dirty, starred in two short videos where he is seen dressed in a wuxia-inspired outfit. (Wuxia (武俠), literally meaning ‘martial arts heroes,’ is a wildly popular genre of books, film, and television.) In the videos, he and two beautiful women engage in swordplay, traditional chess, and drinking rice wine from old jars.
The videos garnered more than 70,000 views on Douyin and a storm of comments from netizens, with a related hashtag gaining over 140 million views on Weibo.
While some social media users initially criticized Xie for lacking the charisma and skills required to act as a traditional wuxia hero, many sympathized with him and praised his commitment.
China is a challenging place to be an indie filmmaker, given the country’s history of censorship and suppression of creative expression.
But FIRST International Film Festival is an opportunity for this community to come together. Many young filmmakers in China view FIRST as the Chinese version of Sundance. It’s a place where up-and-coming indie filmmakers can work with other professionals and potentially get funding for their cinematic dreams.
RADII wants to find out if it truly lives up to the hype. Here’s one story of a young filmmaker in China.
- The Chinese internet is empathizing with a food delivery driver who recently made a viral video breaking down his monthly income. Many people are concerned over his “unreasonable” and “exploitative” working conditions — an indication of changing attitudes towards labor in China.
- On most campuses in China, pets are not allowed in dorms. However, by using old boxes and a little imagination, young animal lovers have found a creative way to bring their pet-ownership dreams to life.
- A team of technophiles from China spent more than 300 days producing the first and only (known) foldable iPhone in the world.
- Lipstick King’ Li Jiaqi, who has had a rocky 2022, has found himself in hot water again in conjunction with China’s Singles’ Day shopping festival.
- Shaolin and Shaoang Liu, Hungary’s beloved speed skating Olympic champions, are allegedly swapping out their Hungarian passports for Chinese ones.
- Soapnuts (or soapberries) are a new favorite plant among eco-friendly individuals and DIY lovers in China.