Choi Chi-yuk

Choi Chi-yuk

Chi-yuk is a contributor to Inkstone. He covers Chinese politics for the South China Morning Post.

Farming and calligraphy: what China’s fallen political elite do behind bars
Former security tsar Zhou Yongkang was once one of China’s most powerful men. Now, he grows fruit and vegetables inside the “tigers’ cage” – the country’s infamous maximum security jail for fallen political elites. Disgraced Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai and his former police chief Wang Lijun, who were at the center of the country’s biggest political scandal in recent years, do not cross paths at the prison but apparently share the same hobby: calligraphy. More than 1.3 million Chinese officials – from the elite “tigers” to the ordinary “flies” – have been snared since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012 and began an unprecedented graft-busting campaign. And most of the “big tigers” lik
Farming and calligraphy: what China’s fallen political elite do behind bars
Chinese exec’s arrest throws a wrench into US-China trade talks
On the same night that President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China met over dinner in Argentina to discuss ending their trade war, authorities on the other side of the American continents sprang into action. At the request of the United States, the Canadian authorities arrested a top Chinese tech executive in transit through Vancouver: Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei – and daughter of its founder. The arrest, analysts said, now threatens to complicate talks to resolve the conflicts between the world’s two leading economic superpowers that risk engulfing the global economy. Over cabernet malbec and steaks that night on December 1, Trump and
Chinese exec’s arrest throws a wrench into US-China trade talks
Chinese prosecutors jailed for torturing businessman to death
Nine former Chinese government prosecutors have been jailed for their role in the mysterious torture and death of Hong Kong businessman Stephen Lau Hei-wing in custody last year. Lau, 60, owned the Kimberley Hotel in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district. News of his possible death in custody in mainland China was revealed during a court hearing in Hong Kong in June 2017. The Tianjin No 1 Intermediate People’s Court on Tuesday sentenced Xu Xuezhe, the lead interrogator, to 15 years in jail. Zhou Qingjun, another defendant got 11 years for intentional assault. Six others received sentences between 15 months and three years for extorting confession by torture. The ninth defendant, head of the inv
Chinese prosecutors jailed for torturing businessman to death
Fan Bingbing scandal hits China’s film industry hard
Chinese film star Fan Bingbing’s tax woes are likely to have far-reaching effects on the country’s entertainment industry. Coupled with the ruling Communist Party’s tightening controls on the film and TV, the industry is expected to see a slump that will last for as long another two years, say entertainment insiders. Tenky Tin, the head of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, told the South China Morning Post that the slowdown started about three months ago, shortly after Fan first disappeared from public view. “Most of the production work on both movies and television series was put on hold,” he said. The tax-dodging superstar issued a groveling apology on Wednesday and vowed to pay a $
Fan Bingbing scandal hits China’s film industry hard
The rise and fall of China’s vaccine queen
On a busy street in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, two tired-looking security guards stand at the entrance to a vast, apparently deserted commercial complex. A broken sign reads “Changchun Institute of Biological Products.” Across the street, in a residential block for retirees from the institute, several people remain in shock and disbelief at how Gao Junfang, a former colleague who rose to become China’s “Vaccine Queen,” became embroiled in one of the biggest healthcare scandals to hit the country in years. As chairwoman and one of the biggest shareholders of Changchun Changsheng Bio-technology – an offshoot of the institute – Gao was one of the wealthiest women in China. In 2
The rise and fall of China’s vaccine queen
An official told Liu Xiaobo’s widow she could be free by April. She’s still in captivity
Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, was assured by a senior Chinese official that she could leave the country by April. But the promise hasn’t been fulfilled, and Liu Xia is still under house arrest. Liu has been in captivity since 2010, the year her late husband won the Nobel Peace Prize. She has never been charged with any offence.     Tension around Liu’s arbitrary detention has prompted an international outcry about China’s human rights abuses. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to raise the subject during her two-day state visit to China, which ends on Friday. Sources told the South China Morning Post that a senior Chinese political offi
An official told Liu Xiaobo’s widow she could be free by April. She’s still in captivity
China’s last Maoists have found refuge in a capitalist utopia
A band of followers of Mao Zedong’s communist doctrines in China have found refuge in an unlikely place – Hong Kong, where capitalism is literally written into law. The city has become the only place in China where the self-proclaimed diehards of Mao Zedong’s cause – and staunch opponents of Beijing’s turn to market economics – can keep the revolutionary flame burning in public. The Maoists claim to be the true keepers of the late chairman’s faith and are nostalgic for the Cultural Revolution, a destructive decade that the Chinese government now describes as a period of “turbulence.” Chen Hongtao, one of dozens of mainland Maoists who headed across the border into semi-autonomous Hong Kong
China’s last Maoists have found refuge in a capitalist utopia
Lost and found: How survivors of the Sichuan earthquake rebuilt their lives
No one in China’s Sichuan province had any idea that their lives would be forever changed on May 12, 2008. On that fateful day, the southwestern province was hit by a magnitude-8 earthquake. 87,000 people lost their lives, and homes and schools were reduced to rubble. Those who survived lost almost everything, and had to rebuild their lives from scratch. These three survivors told us what happened to them after the disaster. Miracle Baby Pan Xiaoai, 10, knew little of what her mother, Zhang Xiaoyan, went through to give birth to her. At that time, Pan’s parents were living in a government-built block on the outskirts of Chengdu, a city perhaps best known for its pandas. When the earthquake
Lost and found: How survivors of the Sichuan earthquake rebuilt their lives
Chinese fighters patrol disputed waters in war games
The Chinese army has sent a team of powerful jets to the disputed South China Sea, days after a US warship sailed through the waters.  The country’s air force said over the weekend that a number of H-6K bombers and Su-30 and Su-35 fighters had carried out combat patrols in the Beijing-claimed territory. The military said the aircraft also flew over the Miyako Strait, which sits between two southern Japanese islands. “Military exercises are rehearsals for future wars,” the air force said, without providing the exact time and location of the drills. “They are the most direct preparation for combat.” The drills were the latest show of strength after Chinese leader Xi Jinping kicked off his sec
Chinese fighters patrol disputed waters in war games