Building Bridges: Sixth Tone X’s Top Stories of 2022
Amidst the challenges of 2022 when lockdowns and quarantines disrupted life in China, Sixth Tone X has managed to work closely with its media partners to present the diverse facets of Chinese society. The stories selected and translated by Sixth Tone dive into topics ranging from China’s carbon neutral goal and its criminal justice system, to traditional hanfu clothing brands and viral imitation idols.
As the pandemic lingers, our partners followed closely how different cities went through extended lockdowns, told stories of ordinary medical and testing workers, unpacked the COVID testing business, and finally witnessed the drastic U-turn away from the “zero-COVID” policy.
Besides the pandemic, climate change represents another pressing challenge faced by China. Droughts and heatwaves struck the country in the summer of 2022, and individuals and groups have continued to cope as best they can. Women’s issues also sparked public outcry, with both rural and urban women breaking their silence to reveal the neglect and exploitation they had suffered while struggling to make ends meet or realize their dreams.
Our collaboration with research institutions and publishing houses has brought forward exploration into Shanghai’s past as well as glimpses into new books by renowned authors. The Sixth Tone China Writing Contest featured new voices that portrayed generations of Chinese people within China’s borders and beyond.
As the year of 2022 draws to a close, here are some of our most popular stories of the year:
For Chinese Workers in Indonesia, No Pay, No Passports, No Way Home
By The Paper
They were promised higher wages and good jobs in Indonesia. Now they’ re looking for a way out.
Unreal Estate: How Duped Homeowners in Henan Flipped the Script
By Beijing Youth Daily
The campaign highlights the frustration construction delays cause and the urgent need for better oversight.
A Vietnamese Bride’s Chinese Dream
By Investigation 107
For Vietnamese brides, cross-border marriages are like a lucky draw: some good, some not.
A Visionary Principal Fought China’s Education System. He Lost.
By China Newsweek
Many have tried, and failed, to make Chinese schooling about more than just doing well on tests.
In Rural Sichuan, Poverty and Profit Are Just a Click Apart
By Code for Life
To eke out a living, many put poverty on display in short videos or livestreams. But this clashes with the government’s narrative.
The Mixed Legacies of China’s ‘Cultural Craze’
By Xiang Biao and Wu Qi
Social anthropologist Xiang Biao and journalist Wu Qi discuss the elitist ideals that animated China’s ’80s generation.
Careers Stalled, China’s Liberal Arts Grads Learn to Code
By Shenran Caijing
Though a tempting option, pivoting to tech comes with risks and difficulties.
How Chinese Companies Force Employees to Stay
Once only signed by executives, non-compete agreements are upending the careers of China’s young workers.
Thai School: For These Chinese Moms, the Future Is Foreign
By The Paper
Options abroad solve some problems but sometimes create new ones.
Infinite Scroll: The Making of China’s Web Fiction Epics
By La Jeunesse Nonfiction Writing Bazaar
Though uncomplicated, formulaic, and phenomenally successful, mobile web fiction in China is serious business.
Compiled by Xue Yongle and Elise Mak.
(Header image: Tetiana5/VCG)