Articles By: Jasmin Sun
A young woman sits in the waiting area of the Shanghai East Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, flipping through Marie Claire’s China edition. She looks through page after page of skincare product advertisements, each boasting the face of a fair-skinned model, complete with doe eyes and a high nose bridge.
Looking at it by the numbers, Tsingtao should be considered a very good beer. In fact, the omnipresent lager is the top-selling native beer in China, which makes it the leading brew of the world’s most highly populated country. Tsingtao also exports bottles to 62 other countries and regions. In a country of 1.4 billion people, that means a lot of mouths that favor the taste of Tsingtao.
For the past four years, Tong Ping Fang has worked diligently at Lin Wei Meng Tools, Ltd., a wrench factory in the rural village of Xiejiaqiao, spending up to 10 hours a day cutting steel posts into blocks. Her job is one of the first of many steps needed to create the 4 million Duralast wrenches to be distributed each year to various countries around the world, including the United States.
For the past three months, Zhou Yu, a middle-school English teacher in Beijing’s Tong Zhou district, has been trying to get her hands on a license plate for her first car. As recently as last year, all a prospective car owner had to do was to file a stack of paperwork at the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.
When Li Yuchun took the first place title of the 2005 Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl’s Voice, China’s answer to American Idol, she may as well have taken a sledgehammer to the country’s years of strictly maintained traditional gender perceptions.