C-sections account for a third of deliveries in China, plus a hit documentary on the Forbidden City and more

Society & Culture

Top society and culture news for January 10, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup, "Xi Jinping and China’s richest men to attend Davos."

  • Study finds lower, but still high, rate of C-sections in China / NYT (paywall)
    A new joint study by American and Chinese scientists reveals that 35 percent of Chinese babies were delivered by cesarean instead of vaginal birth between 2008 and 2014, compared with the 46 percent figure reported by the World Health Organization in 2010. However, despite China’s efforts to control medically unnecessary cesareans through educating doctors and patients, the rate is still climbing. The study also shows that “many parents and grandparents demand C-sections to assure that births take place on a lucky day in the astrological calendar.” Doctors also say they are less likely to be accused of malpractice if they perform “scheduled surgeries rather than risk vaginal births.”
  • Film on Palace Museum’s antiquity restoration becomes surprise hit / Caixin
    Masters in the Forbidden City, a low-budget documentary about relic restorers at the imperial palace in central Beijing, “went viral online after being aired by broadcaster China Central Television in January 2016.” The film led to “a flood of applications for jobs at the Palace Museum, with over 20,000 applicants gunning for 100 vacancies.” The original documentary was adapted for the big screen and released on December 16, the same day as The Great Wall, directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon.  


Keep an eye on what’s buzzing among China’s 700 million social media users.

Chinese soccer fans see no hope in World Cup expansion / Weibo (link in Chinese)

FIFA, global soccer’s governing body, voted unanimously on Tuesday to expand the World Cup tournament to 48 teams in 2026, up from the current quota of 32. The People’s Daily invited internet users on Sina Weibo to leave comments on the move. Most reactions are negative about China’s prospects for World Cup glory: One of the most popular postings reads, “This is going to be even more embarrassing for China’s national team.”

Earlier this year, China unveiled a strategy to become a “football superpower” by 2050, while President Xi Jinping, a football enthusiast, vowed that China would win the World Cup within 15 years. The hope, however, was dampened as China failed the 2018 World Cup qualifier after losing to Syria and Uzbekistan. Last week, we noted on SupChina that China’s soccer authorities have issued rules to stop “irrational” spending by football clubs.