Grandfather Zhen Qingchun, who has  seven grandsons, aged 11 to 20: “Our situation is very common. The parents go away to work, the older generation takes care of them. You have to make money, and you usually can’t take your children with you.”  Photograph: Clifford Coonan

A dozen elderly people, some wearing the blue tunics and black slippers of Mao Zedong’s more doctrinaire era, are waiting in the rain beneath a bus sh(...)

State-owned Chongqing Iron and Steel Co was the worst performing of China’s big steel mills last year. Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

The cherished Iron Rice Bowl, the job for life with benefits under the communist system, is under threat in China as monolithic state firms make wrenc(...)

Last year, Chongqing’s gross domestic product rose by 10.7 per cent, much faster than the 25-year low of 6.9 per cent recorded nationally across China. Photograph: Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

On the banks of the Yangtze river in Chongqing, between cranes and stockpiles of coal where barges filled with iron ore and gravel slip past, lies an (...)

Neil Heywood and Gu Kailai. The wife of a former high-profile Chinese politician, Gu murdered Mr Heywood to try to prevent a scandal concerning millions of dollars in real estate being held in an offshore account.

For months, Gu Kailai worried about a secret that threatened to upend her comfortable life and stop her husband’s climb to the top rungs of China’s p(...)

The stretch of pavement in Washington, DC, which was  given a phone lane

Last year, the Belgian city of Antwerp got a “text walking” lane. Shortly after this, a stretch of pavement in Washington, DC was given a phone lane,(...)

Police push away journalists and supporters of human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang near the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court  on Monday. Photograph: Fred DufourAFP/Getty Images

There were scuffles, and diplomats and journalists were shoved, after the three-hour trial of Pu Zhiqiang, one of China’s most high-profile human righ(...)

A  woman wearing a mask is reflected in a glass panel on a smoggy day in Beijing on Wednesday.  Beijing’s environmental protection bureau warned of poor air quality that could continue in the coming days. Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA

China has issued 155 coal-fired power plants, generally blamed as one of the chief reasons for the country’s dire pollution problems, environmental pe(...)

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s speech is detailed in its praise for traditional modes of art and critical of contemporary art, which he feels lacks morality and depth. Photograph: Bloomberg

At first glance, it looks like an editorial oversight. Chinese official state media publishes, in full, the text of a speech given by president Xi Jin(...)

A 2012 file photograph of Fujian province governor Su Shulin. Photograph: Reuters

The governor of China’s Fujian province is being investigated for corruption. China’s top anti-graft watchdog said Su Shulin (53), former head of the (...)

China’s former security chief Zhou Yongkang has been sentenced to life in prison, the state news agency Xinhua reported. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters/Files

China’s former security chief Zhou Yongkang has been sentenced to life in prison, the state news agency Xinhua reported, the most senior member of the(...)