84 episodes

Two Women. One Country. Modern China from the Inside.

Wo Men Podcast Wǒ Men Podcast

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 18 Ratings

Two Women. One Country. Modern China from the Inside.

    Behind the Lines of China's Zero Covid Strategy

    Behind the Lines of China's Zero Covid Strategy

     The latest mass outbreak of COVID-19 in China has impacted people's lives, with over 5000 new cases reported each day this week. While the numbers are small compared with what other countries have experienced during the pandemic, the most recent outbreak is the largest in China since 2020. Many residents in major cities like Shanghai and the tech hub of Shenzhen have been told to remain in their homes, and officials in several jurisdictions have given orders for full or partial lockdowns. After feeling safe and protected for the past two years by China's Zero Covid Policy, Chinese people have, for the first time, started to question whether this policy is effectively dealing with the new omicron variant. Our Co-Host Yajun is now on her 16th day of being forced to stay inside her apartment complex due to a case of COVID being reported in the same compound. Co-Host Karoline was just released from mandatory quarantine after returning to China from a trip overseas. In this episode, Yajun and Karoline shared their personal experiences and observations of how public opinion has started to shift regarding China's  Zero COVID strategy. 

    • 38 min
    Spiritual Journey: One woman's experience with shamanism

    Spiritual Journey: One woman's experience with shamanism

    When people feel confused or uncertain about their lives, some turn to fortune-tellers or psychics for guidance and advice. China has a long tradition of fortune-telling, soothsaying, and even exorcisms and shamanism.
    Those living in the Northeastern part of the country consult people known as Daxian (大仙), which can be translated as “spirit mediums” or “spirit possessors”). Daxian are the representatives of a local religion, combining shamanism and animal worship (including weasels, foxes, mice, snakes, and hedgehogs). According to legend, once these animal spirits possess their bodies, the daxian can cure disease or predict the future.  
    We talk to Vicky, a native of Northeastern China. She describes her personal experiences of consulting a daxian for help when she had difficulties maintaining a long-term relationship. She also shares her recent discovery about the extent her family was involved with this local religion.  

    • 35 min
    The Wo Men Podcast 2021 Year in Review Episode

    The Wo Men Podcast 2021 Year in Review Episode

    It's an annual tradition. Yajun, Jingjing, and Karoline, the three cohosts of the Wo Men Podcast, got together virtually to discuss their experiences in 2021 and share their memories of the year that was. They also talked about what they were looking forward to most in 2022. Spoiler Alert: They would like to see each other and are hopeful that China will open its borders soon so that family and friends can finally be reunited. Fingers crossed!

    • 27 min
    The Future is Lying Flat

    The Future is Lying Flat

    In China, there have been generations that “stood up” (站起来 zhànqǐlai) and generations that “jumped into the sea” (下海 xiàhǎi), but many young people in China today are choosing instead to just “lie down and chill.”
    The term “Lying Flat” (躺平 tǎngpíng) became popular following a blog post entitled “Lying Flat is Justice” (躺平即是正义 tǎngpíng jíshì zhèngyì) went viral earlier this year. This call to inaction inspired many to choose a lifestyle that rejected the social pressure to work hard and conform. Why bother striving if the “Chinese Dream” of a high-paying job, buying a house, and checking all the boxes for success seem impossible?
    Many young people are also turning their backs on the corporate grind and risky start-up jobs to find a stable gig with China’s biggest employer: the government. Why are young people lining up for “less competitive” jobs in the civil service? After 30 years of standing up and another 30 years of jumping in the sea of entrepreneurship, why are so many young people choosing a life of less struggle?
    To answer these questions, we talked with Kailai, a student at one of China’s top universities, who explains to us why the growing gap between expectations and reality is causing young people to question assumptions about what is the meaning of a successful life and why when the going gets tough, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step back, lie down, and chill.

    • 40 min
    20 Years Later: How did Chinese students react to the News of 9/11?

    20 Years Later: How did Chinese students react to the News of 9/11?

    2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks carried out by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda against targets in the United States. Over 3000 people died as a result, and the world was forever changed. Since then, the United States has faced many challenges, including a long-running military occupation of Afghanistan, which ended only this year. The past two decades have also seen a steadily rising China seeking to challenge US hegemony and disrupt the existing international order. What did 9/11 mean for China and the US-China relationship? How did people in China understand and react to the news that the United States had been attacked?
    In this episode, Karoline and Yajun share their personal stories of hearing about 9/11 and how those experiences have affected their later careers as cultural intermediaries between the world and China. They also reflect on how their careers have been affected by the complicated US-China relationship and consider how they can contribute to improving mutual understanding between the world’s two largest economies.

    • 31 min
    Gombo's Prayers on the Plateau

    Gombo's Prayers on the Plateau

    When most people think about China in the 21st century, they picture the big coastal megacities like Beijing or Shanghai. But that’s only a small part of the picture. For this episode, we traveled out west to Qinghai Province, which has an area the size of France but a population of just six million people. The region where Qinghai and southern Gansu Province meet has long been a frontier zone, a point of contact for many different ethnic groups, including people who still live a nomadic lifestyle. Today it is one of the poorest regions in China and has been the focus of intensive development even as many people who live there try and preserve their traditional lifestyle and distinctive culture.
    We talk to Gombo, who was raised in a Mongolian nomadic family and went on to be the first in his area to graduate from college. Gombo describes his life growing up in a nomad camp, how Tibetan Buddhism continues to be a significant part of his life, and how he pursued his education and career in modern China. Today, Gombo works in the travel industry with the company Elevated Trips based out of Xining.
    Gombo is also a very talented musician and he shared with us some of his songs which you can hear as part of the episode.

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

Chxu0629 ,

Uniquely fab

Love these ladies! Unique perspective with diverse roster of guests in China. Window into contemporary China. Pls have more episodes with Annie Huang! Talk about childbirth, etc.

HelloandNo ,


Love this show. Always keeps me interested and always look forward to new episodes.
-Tabby from Your New Best Friends podcast

Tomstofu ,


Love listening to the podcast, you ladies are awesome!

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