Welcome to What’s on Weibo. This blog is the result of an idea I have had for over a year. I have lived in China for over 1,5 years and acquired many Chinese friends. As a native Dutch, mainly using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, I have often felt excluded when my Chinese friends would talk about popular topics discussed on the social media site they most often used; Sina Weibo. I have used this blog as a personal challenge to keep myself up to date with the popular culture of today’s China. Besides that it is meant as a source of information for those who are interested in China’s current social media affairs, but who do not have the linguistic and/or cultural background knowledge to get ‘behind the scenes’.
I welcome you as a frequent visitor to this site. If you have any suggestions or comments, please send me a message through the contact page.
Weibo Watch: Walking on Eggshells
In today’s Chinese social media environment, both foreign brands and local influencers must tread carefully, as even minor missteps can trigger significant consequences.
PREMIUM NEWSLETTER | ISSUE #14
This week’s newsletter:
◼︎ 1. Editor’s Note – Walking on eggshells
◼︎ 2. What’s Trending – A closer look at the featured stories
◼︎ 3. What More to Know – Highlighting 8 hot topics
◼︎ 4. What Lies Behind – Dr. Pieke on China’s influence and interference
◼︎ 5. What’s Noteworthy – No consent to marry
◼︎ 6. What’s Popular – ‘Secret Agent Missions’
◼︎ 7. What’s Memorable – Meng Wanzhou back to the Motherland
◼︎ 8. Weibo Word of the Week – “Floracash”
Tears and apologies don’t seem to mean much in today’s social media era.
Not too long ago, a well-known Chinese female university professor known as ‘Xiangyi’ (相宜) posted an emotional video addressing an issue that happened some time ago. The professor, who previously became an internet celebrity with millions of followers, vanished from the public eye in 2022 due to criticism for her use of the phrase “our Japan” (“我们日本”) during a livestream when discussing Japanese authors and their works.
Xiangyi said “our Japan” three times and it sparked backlash, as viewers interpreted it as a sign of her loyalty to Japan over China. In her tearful video, she explained that it was merely a figure of speech (“口头语”), akin to saying, “This is our Teacher Zhang,” when introducing someone; “He is one of our Japanese authors.” While her choice of words did reflect her affection for the authors, it wasn’t necessarily an indicator of her greater commitment to Japan over China.
However, the consequences for Xiangyi were severe. She felt compelled to resign from her university position due to ongoing online harassment and “malicious reports.”
Xiangyi’s tearful video failed to garner sympathy from netizens, mirroring the response to ‘Lipstick King’ Li Jiaqi’s recent apology video for controversial comments made during a live stream. Both were dismissed as insincere and too little, too late.
Another recent social media controversy revolved around a photo on Apple’s Chinese-language webpage. It featured an Asian-looking individual with braided hair, leading some Chinese netizens to claim it insulted China. They believed the hairstyle resembled a queue, worn by male subjects during the Qing dynasty, and that Apple had deliberately and inappropriately used such an image to show Chinese individuals as being backward and unattractive.
It has since become evident that many assumptions about the image were unfounded. Contrary to the initial belief that the photo was exclusive to the Chinese page, the image appeared on Apple’s websites in multiple countries and featured a California-based Native American female employee, not of Chinese descent.
Nevertheless, many internet users and bloggers insisted that brands operating in China should pay more attention to the cultural context they operate in to avoid offending consumers. Although some also acknowledged the controversy was “excessive” or “overly sensitive,” a seeming majority still stood by their initial reaction to the photo.
In recent years, many incidents that unfolded on Chinese social media, either in livestreams, online advertisements, or Weibo posts, have demonstrated that minor missteps can cause social media storms. One wrongly chosen word, image, or outfit can start an almost unstoppable wave of criticism that can end careers, close doors, and terminate accounts.
But what happens once livestreamers, celebrities, and brands have to watch their every single move? How does constant scrutiny affect creativity, humor, and authenticity? When the fear of causing offense becomes a threat to one’s reputation and livelihood, can open discussions still thrive? Are there still any images, advertisements, livestream channels or websites immune to controversy?
This discussion echoes debates seen on Western social media, where so-called ‘wokeness’ has become so divisive that it is harming support for the very issues it aims to be highlighting while ‘cancel culture’ can have detrimental impact on anyone whose opinions stir controversy.
In the Chinese context, social media has become an even greater pressure cooker for brands, influencers, and celebrities. Besides taking into account the legal limits of what they can say or do online, they must also navigate a labyrinth of unwritten rules, including those promoting moral and cultural values, projecting positivity and patriotism, all while delicately considering geopolitical and economic sensitivities.
Lately, some people have speculated that Li Jiaqi’s outburst during his livestream might have been a result of burnout and mental health issues stemming from years of striving to please various stakeholders, including audiences, companies, sponsors, platforms, and the media. It might be one of the most plausible observations about the situation. Regardless of the allure of money and fame, being an online influencer under constant public scrutiny on Chinese social media seems like an utterly exhausting job to have.
1: Cross-Generational Living | Chinese nursing homes are changing their image in the social media age. While Chinese vloggers experiment with living in old people’s homes, and nursing homes are modernizing their facilities, some senior care centers are offering young people the chance to reside in their communities for free – as long as they spend some time with their elderly residents.
2: Bad Apples? | There is a lot of Apple anger on Chinese social media this week. Two separate trending topics have ignited discussions. One revolves around Chinese actor Liu Jin, who smashed his iPhone 13 Pro Max in front of the Apple flagship store, while another one centers on an image of an Apple employee deemed inappropriate by Chinese netizens. But both viral trends have unfolded with surprisingly ‘juicy’ twists.
3: The Lipstick King Controversy | Li Jiaqi, also known as Austin Li the ‘Lipstick King,’ has become the focus of intense media attention in China over the two weeks. The controversy began when the popular beauty influencer responded with apparent annoyance to a viewer’s comment about the high price of an eyebrow pencil. As a result, his fans began unfollowing him, netizens started scolding him, Chinese state criticized him, and the memes started flooding in. Why did this case blow up? We explore three reasons.
What More to Know
◼︎ 1. Panic over Prefab Meals. As the new school season has started, the word “yùzhìcài” (预制菜), ‘pre-fabricated meal,’ is all over Chinese social media this week. This is partly because of angry parents discovering that their children’s school cafeterias have transitioned from freshly prepared meals to ready-made ones. This is part of a broader trend in China that has risen over recent years, but there is significant resistance to this change due to concerns over the meals lacking nutrition, containing too many additives, and not being safe enough. The Chinese Ministry of Education has responded to the controversy by stating that they do not encourage the widespread adoption of pre-made meals in schools; there is currently no nationally established unified standard for ready-made meals, and the top priority should be the “nutrition and healthy development of children.” (Various hashtags on Weibo, such as “CNR Discusses How Ready-Made Meals Are entering the Campus” #央广网评预制菜进校园#, 110 million views).
◼︎ 2. PhD Student Suicide. The death of a PhD student at Northwestern Polytechnical University (西北工业大学) in Xi’an became a major topic on Chinese social media this week. The male student, who majored in material science, faced challenges in both his studies and mental well-being. In the period before he jumped to his death, the man had exhibited unusual behavior and voiced concerns about others accessing his phone and computer. His death sparked conversations about the pressures faced by PhD students in China, particularly in STEM fields, and the concerning rate of depression among them. (Hashtag “31-Year-Old PhD Student Dies after Jumping Off Dorm Building” #31岁博士生宿舍楼坠楼身亡#, 160 million views).
◼︎ 3. Body Parts Found in Shijiazhuang. In a residential community in the Qiaoxi District of Shijiazhuang, neighbors were shocked when human body parts were found scattered around a residential building. Initially, fears of a homicide case spread across Chinese social media. However, the official investigation into the incident has since determined that it was not a homicide but a possible suicide. The victim has been identified as a 28-year-old woman who collided with a second-floor balcony during her fall from the building, resulting in the separation of her limbs. Foul play has now been ruled out. (Hashtag “Shijiazhuang Neighborhood: Remains of Human Body Suspected to Be Female” #石家庄某小区尸体残肢疑为女性#, 100 million views).
◼︎ 4. Uniqlo Incident. An incident that happened at a Uniqlo store in Xining on September 18 became a big topic of discussion. A female customer who was suspected of not paying for her purchases was physically restrained by two staff members who grabbed her by the neck and dragged her to the checkout counter. The incident quickly gained the attention of netizens after an eye-witness shared a video of the female customer breaking down in tears at the store. It later turned out that the customer had actually paid for all of her items, and the store staff was condemned for their violent behavior. The Uniqlo store in question was temporarily closed in light of the incident. (Hashtag: Female Customer Grabbed by Uniqlo Staff, Dragged Back to Checkout Counter” #女顾客被优衣库工作人员掐脖子拖回收银台#, 220 million views).
◼︎ 5. Bao’an Dies after Working in Hot Room The recent death of a 48-year-old security guard (commonly called ‘bao’an‘ 保安 in Chinese) has stirred significant online discussions after details surrounding the man’s death were exposed by his relatives. The man. Mr. Zhao, died a sudden death in his dormitory at night after another day working in the very hot security room where he spent most of his days. His wife later claimed the man worked 12-hour long shifts and had not had a day off for 190 days straight. On average, he worked 360 hours per month at the company, where he had worked for 14 years. His workplace, a cramped 10-square-meter room, was exposed to direct sunlight. During July and August, when the indoor temperature at his workplace exceeded 40°C (104°F), the man’s employer provided nothing but an electric fan to cool the security room. The family believes that the company seriously violated national laws, neglected the lives of its employees, and eventually led to Mr. Zhao’s “death by overwork” while being exposed to extreme temperatures. (Hashtag: “Bao’an Who Died in Hot Dorm Previously Complained about Heat in Room on Wechat Moments Four Times” #保安宿舍猝死曾4次发朋友圈称执勤室好热#, 260 million views).
◼︎ 6. iPhone 15 versus Huawei Mate 60. The rivalry between Apple and Huawei has been a trending topic lately, especially with Apple’s recent launch of the iPhone 15 shortly after Huawei introduced its latest flagship, the Mate 60 Pro 5G. While it’s evident which smartphone brand holds more favor in terms of nationalistic sentiments, criticism of Apple and its iPhone often appears to be more about words than actions. Thousands of Chinese consumers lined up for the latest iPhone model’s launch on Friday morning, and online sales saw a significant surge. (Hashtag “Do You Want the iPhone 15 or Huawei Mate 60?” #你要iphone15还是华为mate60#, 140 million views; “iPhone 15” #iphone15#, 710 million views).
◼︎ 7. Chinese Tourists: No Visa Needed for Thailand As of September 25, Chinese nationals can enter Thailand without a visa for a temporary stay of up to thirty days. This visa exemption, which will be in effect until February 29, was initiated by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin as a measure to boost local tourism. It is expected to attract an additional 5 million tourists to Thailand. Many netizens on Weibo expressed their excitement and welcomed this news. Earlier this year, Thailand gained popularity for its warm reception of Chinese tourists in the post-pandemic travel era. Thai authorities not only waived the requirement for Covid tests or vaccination proof but also went the extra mile by having Cabinet ministers personally greet Chinese tourists at Bangkok’s airport with flowers and gifts. (Hashtag: “Thailand Implements 5-Month Visa-Free Policy for China” #泰国对中国实施5个月免签政策#, 110 million clicks).
◼︎ 8. Putin is Coming to China. Over the past two weeks, while social and societal topics have taken the spotlight on Weibo and Douyin trending lists, there have also been trending discussions related to geopolitical affairs, with a particular focus on Vladimir Putin. Firstly, this was due to Putin’s significant meeting with Kim Jong-un. Secondly, China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, had a meeting with the Russian president in St. Petersburg this week. During their discussions, Putin confirmed his upcoming visit to Beijing in October for the Belt and Road Summit. This topic garnered significant attention, making headlines in multiple news outlets and ranking high in top trends on Baidu News. (Hashtags “Putin Meets Wang Yi #普京会见王毅#, 64 million views; “China Responds to Putin’s October Beijing Visit” #中方回应普京10月将访华#, 300k views).
What Lies Behind
Dr. Pieke on China’s Influence and Interference
From suspicious balloons to new counter-espionage laws, there has been extensive discourse surrounding possible foreign interference in China over the past year. However, discussions about Chinese influence in foreign countries are equally lively, if not more intense.
Earlier this week, Amsterdam’s De Balie discussion center hosted an event dedicated to Chinese influence in Europe, with a particular focus on the Netherlands. At the core of this discussion was Professor Frank Pieke’s research (formerly of the University of Oxford and MERICS Berlin, now at Leiden University) on the influence and interference of the People’s Republic of China among the Chinese population in the Netherlands. This research was conducted on behalf of the Ministries of Justice and Security, Foreign Affairs, and Defense.
During the event, Pieke offered valuable insights and urged the audience to approach discussions about China’s political influence on other countries with greater nuance. Pieke argued that, both in the Dutch context and elsewhere, reactions to China are increasingly based on stereotypes or preconceived notions rather than the actual situation. Over the years, political institutions in the West and journalism have become more biased toward China, a trend that Pieke finds concerning.
This bias and preconception have a twofold impact. Firstly, it hampers relations with China, which are mutually beneficial in many ways. Secondly, it blinds us to the real concerns that Europe and other Western countries should have.
Pieke pointed out, “Nowadays, there is a tendency in ongoing debates to lump together all forms of contact with China and categorize it as ‘Chinese interference,’ whether it’s a friendly conversation over a cup of coffee, a briefing by the Chinese embassy, espionage activities by Chinese companies, or the way the Chinese government tries to influence people. This is something I continually caution against.”
Pieke emphasized the need to encourage extensive contact with China, as there are numerous forms of Sino-Dutch and Sino-foreign relations that are not only harmless but also desirable and fruitful. However, Pieke cautioned that certain trends and developments have the potential to be harmful, and Dutch authorities should pay special attention to these.
As long as we maintain bias and categorize all forms of contact with China together, the process of addressing these specific issues becomes nearly impossible. This simplistic portrayal of everything related to China or the Party as bad, evil, or unwanted hinders constructive dialogue and effective policy-making.
Meanwhile, Pieke found that while the Communist Party does indeed exert influence over Chinese organizations and media abroad, this influence is used sparingly in practice. In essence, there is relatively little direct interference; they have the potential for it but do not extensively employ it in Dutch society.
A significant finding from Pieke’s research is that Chinese individuals living in Holland either do not perceive this influence or hold limited opinions about it. What can be observed though, is that Chinese in the Netherlands adjust their behavior based on what they believe may be viewed as ‘desirable’ or ‘undesirable’ by both the Chinese government and other Chinese individuals in their overseas communities. Pieke labels this as a form of “soft power” or “soft threat,” distinct from self-censorship. The primary control of this ‘influence’ predominantly rests with overseas Chinese themselves.
No Consent Given | A man from Gongyi, Zhengzhou, Henan, recently became a trending topic on Chinese social media due to the denial of his marriage license application with his girlfriend, who is deaf and mute. According to Chinese media reports, both sets of parents had consented to the marriage, and the couple had already taken their wedding photos. However, the local Bureau of Civil Affairs rejected their application, citing the requirement for both parties to independently declare their intention to marry. The woman, who had never attended a school for the Deaf, lacked the ability to use sign language, write, or communicate effectively. The Bureau advised the couple to return once she had completed her education and could express her desire to marry.
As news of this incident circulated on Chinese social media, many people praised the “responsible decision” of the local Bureau of Civil Affairs. Last year, one human trafficking case gained national prominence after a TikTok vlogger exposed the horrific living conditions of a woman in Xuzhou who appeared to be unable to communicate. She was married with eight children and kept in a shed next to the house, tied to a chain. It later turned out that local officials made errors in properly checking and verifying when approving the marriage certificate. Read more about the Xuzhou woman case here.
Secret Agent Missions | While espionage and foreign influence is a popular topic in Chinese media and foreign policy, they are also recurring themes in popular culture. Throughout the years, China has produced numerous TV series centered around espionage. The latest Chinese sensation in this genre is Spy Game (特工任务), which delves into the challenging work of Chinese national security in countering foreign spy activities and safeguarding the nation’s security.
One of the main characters in the series is Huang Zicheng (黄子诚), portrayed by Chinese actor Wei Daxun (魏大勋). Huang inadvertently becomes entangled in spy-related affairs and ultimately becomes an informant for the National Security Bureau. However, as he operates within a web of conspiracies and foreign influence, he struggles to see who he can trust or what is real.
With millions of viewers tuning in to this hit series since its premiere on September 20, the hashtag #Huang Zicheng Admits Involvement in Spy Activities” (#黄子诚涉及间谍行为提出自首#) went trending on Chinese social media this week, attracting a staggering 430 million views.
If you’d like to tune into this series, it’s available on iQiyi and also on YouTube with English subtitles. You can start with the first episode here. (They just released the fifth episode last night).
Huawei’s Daughter | In this time of Apple-Huawei rivalry, it is clear that the ongoing tech giant competition in China is about much more than smartphones alone and has come to symbolize geopolitical rivalry, encompassing themes of nationalism, anti-Western sentiments, and a growing sense of pride in products made in China. In this context, it is perhaps not surprising that Huawei decided to let its launch ceremony coincide with the second anniversary of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s return to China from house arrest in Canada back in 2023 (September 25).
In this throwback from our archives, you can read more about Meng Wanzhou’s (孟晚舟) homecoming to China. It had been almost three years since the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Huawei and the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei was initially detained in Canada during a layover at Vancouver airport at the request of U.S. officials. In 2019, we reported on how the Meng Wanzhou case sparked anti-American and pro-Huawei sentiments on Weibo (link). By linking its highly-anticipated launch ceremony to Meng’s return, Huawei is further emphasizing its role as a major player in the geopolitical rivalry landscape.
Weibo Word of the Week
“Huaxi Coins” | Our Weibo Word of the Week is “花西币” (Huāxī bì), which translates to “Huaxi coins” or “Floracash.”
By now, you’re probably aware of all the controversy surrounding China’s most famous beauty influencer Li Jiaqi that followed a livestream he did to promote the Chinese make-up brand Florasis, which is known as Huāxīzǐ (花西子) in China.
After some viewers questioned whether a single eyebrow pencil costing 79 yuan ($11) was too expensive, Li lashed out and suggested viewers should instead ask themselves if they worked hard enough to deserve a raise.
The incident sparked a series of memes and discussions, and among them the question of what one can buy with 79 yuan in China today was a big one. While some suggested they could feed an entire family for one day with that money, others said that it would buy their office lunches for a week.
This humorous situation gave rise to the term ‘Huaxi Coins’ or ‘Floracash,’ with netizens playfully using the eyebrow pencil’s price as a new currency unit, where one Huaxi Coin equals 79 yuan. People have even started jokingly expressing their earnings in Huaxi Coins, and some proudly mention the cost of snacks or meals, saying things like ‘it only cost me a quarter in Floracash for three’ or ‘tonight’s dinner was just half a Huaxi Coin!'”
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“Elderlies” in Their Thirties: The Growing Interest of Chinese Youth in Nursing Homes
Some Chinese nursing homes are evolving into sought-after havens where China’s younger people can “lie flat” without worrying about meals and household chores, while enjoying a high-quality lifestyle.
In China, nursing homes (养老院, yǎnglǎoyuàn) are usually not linked to lively living spaces. Many picture elderly residents trapped in dull daily routines, lacking companionship, without any visitors or children around, simply awaiting the inevitable alone.
However, these places, once synonymous with boredom, loneliness, and the end of life, are now piquing the interest of younger generations in China, breathing new life into them and transforming them into more vibrant living communities.
Recently, a nursing home in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, began to recruit young people to live there. The initiative is a part of the “Companion Aging Program” promoted by the local civil affair bureau.
Its objective is twofold. One the one hand, it provides new living environments for younger generations facing difficulties in securing housing. On the other hand, it alleviates the burden of social isolation on seniors who struggle to stay in touch with the communities around them.
The program is focused on attracting young people, especially those who have just entered the workforce. They can stay in one-bedroom apartments within nursing homes for free, with only a small monthly management fee of 300 yuan ($41). The only requirement is that they spend at least ten hours each month engaging in activities with elderly residents, like sharing meals, going for walks, or having conversations.
The government initiators stress the program’s win-win situation. A staff member at the bureau explains, “The program can provide accompany to satisfy seniors’ emotional needs, while also helping ‘companions’ to save on rental costs.”
To ensure that the program is indeed mutually beneficial, the government has established specific criteria for potential senior companions. These requirements include not having current residents in the city, holding at least a junior college education level, and having desirable backgrounds in fields such as medicine, psychology, information technology, arts, or law.
The program has been well-received thus far. In a Weibo poll with the hashtag “Are you willing to live in nursing homes for free by accompanying old people?” (#你愿意陪伴老年人免费入住养老院吗#), initiated by Xinjin News (@新京报), 55% of the respondents wholeheartedly support the initiative, while approximately 30% remain undecided.
According to another recent Weibo post by Sina News, the nursing home has already received hundreds of resumes from applicants.
“The Old Man in His Thirties”: Young People Who Want to Live in Nursing Homes
In the meantime, living in nursing homes seems to have become increasingly popular among young people in China, even when it’s not always free of charge. Nursing homes have not only been portrayed in more favorable lights on social media by state media outlets, they have also taken proactive measures themselves to improve their image.
Thanks to these collective efforts, what were once seen as lonely and uninspiring places are now seemingly transforming into popular residences where China’s younger people can “lie flat” (read more), without worrying about meals and household chores, while enjoying a high-quality lifestyle.
On social app Xiaohongshu, one user named “The Old Man in His Thirties” (三旬老汉) has recently been documenting his experience of moving to a nursing home.
In his first video, somewhat jokingly, he talks about quitting his job due to overwhelming work demands and choosing to embrace a “lie-flat” lifestyle (“躺平”). He was drawn to the nursing home because it provides meals, takes care of residents, and handles daily chores.
Titled “Day xx of living in a nursing home at the age of thirty” (“三十岁入住养老院的第xx天”), his subsequent videos showcase the nursing home staff preparing delicious meals for him, getting him snacks, and even engaging in esports activities with him. These videos also feature his humorous interactions with his roommate, a senior resident in his seventies.
Another post-95 generation Xiaohongshu user (久久姨家政) recently also shared his experiences of living in an old people’s home. His videos revolve around talking to older residents, enjoying meals with them or joking around. There are also other accounts, all young Chinese vloggers, sharing their own journeys of moving into senior care facilities.
Although these videos are apparently filmed based on written scripts, many netizens still see the attractiveness of nursing homes through these kinds of videos and posts. Many viewers have left comments under these videos expressing their desire to reside in senior living communities, asking for locations and inquiring about the costs.
Since the first video by “The Old Man in His Thirties” was posted in mid-June, the series has documented approximately 70 days of life in the nursing home. By now, the account has nearly 60,000 followers, and the videos accumulated thousands of likes.
In addition to improving their image through social media, some nursing homes in China have also enhanced their appeal by upgrading facilities. Gyms, swimming pools, snooker tables, free wifi and esports rooms – a variety of amenities have been introduced to transform nursing homes into modern spaces that also cater to the preferences of younger individuals.
Some private nursing homes also market themselves as “nursing homes even young people would want to live in,” emphasizing the exceptional quality and modern standards of services and facilities.
This online promotion has had the surprising by-effect that younger and middle-aged people are also changing their attitudes about moving into nursing homes when they are old and retired.
While some nursing homes across the country are offering free short stays for young Chinese, other individuals have gone as far as paying for a short stay to personally experience various nursing homes. One Xiaohongshu user, after spending a night at a local upscale nursing home and sharing her experience with a friend, commented, “After the immersive experience, I’m eager to apply for long-term residency right away.”
A Path to Change Eldercare in Aging China
The growing interest of young people in nursing homes is not merely a coincidental trend arising from local government initiatives or viral social media trends.
Elderly care services have been a significant focal point of China’s national strategies for several years, driven by the projected fourfold increase in the elderly population, from 36 million to 150 million, in the next three decades.
In early May of this year, the government issued guidelines aimed at establishing a comprehensive elderly care system by 2025. These guidelines emphasize the provision of material support to elderly individuals living alone, which includes the improvement of services and facilities within nursing homes.
This increased focus on nursing homes may indicate a shift in China’s eldercare strategies, particularly in light of the significant decline in birth rates. From 2011 to 2020, China prioritized a home-based eldercare system, encouraging younger generations to live in close proximity to their elderly relatives through restructured healthcare facilities and the promotion of filial piety.
Between 2015 and 2020, the central government allocated 5 billion yuan (approximately USD 743 million) to support new pilot programs for home-based elderly care services (Krings et al 2022).
However, with record-low marriage and birth rates, it is likely that a significant number of young people today will later lack the younger family members needed to provide home-based care as they age. Consequently, nursing homes are bound to play a more crucial role in China’s future eldercare industry.
In Chinese society, older adults residing in nursing homes are often regarded as examples of personal failures for not having loving families with caring children (Luo & Zhan 2911). Moreover, concerns about potential mistreatment of vulnerable elderly residents by staff members at nursing homes persist.
The increasing interest and recent active involvement of young people in nursing homes offer a way to challenge old stereotypes and bring new ideas to the changing eldercare landscape in China. Perhaps most importantly, it helps combat the loneliness that many seniors face while bridging the gap between the country’s younger and older generations.
References (other sources hyperlinked in text):
Krings, Marion F., Jeroen D. van Wijngaarden, Shasha Yuan, and Robbert Huijsman. 2022. “China’s Elder Care Policies 1994–2020: A Narrative Document Analysis.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 10: 6141.
Luo, Baozhen, and Heying Zhan. 2011. “Filial Piety and Functional Support: Understanding Intergenerational Solidarity among Families with Migrated Children in Rural China.” Ageing International 37, no. 1: 69–92.
This article has been edited for clarity by Manya Koetse
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