Per [meta:SVG fonts](https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/SVG_fonts), WMF servers currently use the AR PL + WenQuanYi line -- the old fonts of the linux world -- for the Chinese language. Their position as defaults should be replaced by the newer Noto fonts for better glyph quality and more sensible font weights.
A comparison of some of those fonts is provided at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MediaWiki_SVG_Chinese_fonts.svg. Note the extermely light weight provided by UMing, which should be replaced by Noto CJK Serif Regular (not shown in image).
## Variants for deployment
To save disk space, it may be desirable to deploy the Noto CJK fonts in OTC format, which reuses glyphs for all for langauges supported (zh-cn/zh-tw/ja-jp/ko-kr). Whether they should be used as defaults for Japanese and Korean is not something I can suggest.
[Sarasa Gothic](https://github.com/be5invis/Sarasa-Gothic) provides hinted variants that works better at medium-to-small pixel sizes (11~36px); it can be made to replace Noto Sans CJK with some fontconfig aliasing work. The CL variant corresponds to KR in Noto Sans CJK. For sizes smaller than 16px ("12pt") human-created bitmap fonts like WenQuanyi Bitmap may work better still.
* * *
In light of the good old Debian stale problem seen in T36947, please consider manually installing fontconfig 2.12+ if you want font weights to work properly (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/fontconfig/+bug/1556457).