Echo Xie

Echo Xie

Reporter, China

Echo is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a Beijing-based Chinese politics and policy reporter for the South China Morning Post.

Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Environment, China politics
Instant noodles a recipe for survival in China’s strict new lockdown
A bag of flour, a cabbage and a stash of instant noodles were all Wang Yufeng had to survive on when a sudden and harsh coronavirus lockdown of a city in China’s north left 11 million residents without time to buy essentials. The clothing business owner was more concerned about getting orders to her clients than she was about shopping for food when authorities announced the unexpected lockdown in the city of Shijiazhuang after 63 new Covid-19 cases were recorded last week – mainland China’s highest daily tally for months. “When I woke up [on Wednesday morning] and looked at WeChat, everyone was talking about the lockdown and getting tested,” Wang said, referring to the popular messaging app.
Green push a rare bright spot for Chinese diplomacy
China has doubled down on its environmental diplomacy, making pledges on global issues such as climate change and biodiversity and projecting itself as a world leader. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, President Xi Jinping said China would reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060. The pledge was welcomed by the international community. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she welcomed China’s ambition to curb emissions and achieve carbon neutrality, but said there was still a lot of work to be done. Another landmark moment for China in the international environmental arena is in May, when the country is expec
Presidential election proves a nail-biter for those caught in crossfire of US-China rivalry
If Donald Trump and Joe Biden are to be believed, the upcoming presidential election is the most consequential in American history. But the race is also being closely watched around the world and few are following more closely than those whose lives and livelihoods are wrapped up in the US-China relationship. A seemingly endless cascade of actions in recent weeks – ranging from sanctions against Chinese officials over human rights abuses and their handling of Hong Kong, to stand-offs over Chinese tech companies – has seen relations fray to their most precarious in decades. To many caught in the middle, the prospect of a new administration in January provides the possibility of a pause, but
Beijing to make laws against food waste following Xi’s call
China could be set to introduce legislation against food wastage, following President Xi Jinping’s call this week for the country to change its habits. Xi has issued a directive demanding more regulations and public education to promote frugality. He called China’s food waste problem “shocking and distressing,” and said the country needs to stay vigilant about potential food security crises. Zhang Guilong, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission, under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body, said the commission would formulate regulations on preventing food waste. “We would strengthen management of all aspects including grain production, p
Selfies and telescopes as closure of US consulate draws a crowd in China
The US consulate in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu closed on Monday under orders from Beijing, in a tit-for-tat move following last week’s forced closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. China’s foreign ministry confirmed on the WeChat social media platform that the consulate had closed at 10am local time, and Chinese officials entered to take over the compound. The American embassy in Beijing posted a farewell to the facility on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. “Today, we say goodbye to the US consulate in Chengdu. We will miss you forever,” it said. Several vehicles and dozens of Chinese workers were seen leaving on Monday morning, while police blocked off roads. Earlier, at 6.24a
Covid-19: China must not be complacent, top expert says
China still faces the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections, but another big outbreak is unlikely thanks to the country’s tight prevention and control measures, according to the country’s top respiratory disease specialist. “With our intensive follow-up monitoring procedures, the risks of a second wave [of coronavirus infections] exist but another peak is unlikely to occur [in China],” Zhong Nanshan said. Zhong, who heads a team of experts advising the Chinese government on the pandemic, said the authorities should not be complacent, with the coronavirus continuing to spread around the world. In addition, most people in China and East Asia had yet to develop immunity to the pathoge
China’s new priority is preventing an unemployment crisis
The coronavirus pandemic has forced a dramatic change in priorities for Beijing’s leaders.  Now they must grapple with falling economic growth and a rising unemployment rate that threatens social stability – the foundation of the ruling Communist Party’s legitimacy. University graduates, migrant workers and the country’s small business sector are the most at risk. China’s leadership has responded by making controlling unemployment a higher priority for the year ahead than getting the growth rate back on track. At the same time, local officials have been told multiple times that they must also fulfill the country’s anti-poverty targets by the end of this year, putting further pressure on loc
Questions and conspiracy theories as Wuhan emerges from lockdown
Tian Xi says he still can’t get the sound of the screams out of his head. It was about noon on February 4, and he had volunteered to help deliver medical masks and other supplies in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. As he entered one residential compound with a delivery, four men in full protective medical gear carried a black body bag downstairs, followed by two wailing women. Their cries were piercing and hysterical, he said. The men loaded the body into a van, which had several others already inside. More than two months later, he says he wants to forget that day, but the memory and the shock of the moment stays with him. “I don’t wa
Exodus from Wuhan after 11 weeks of lockdown
Tens of thousands of people in Wuhan are traveling out of the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the first epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, after a monthslong lockdown was lifted on Wednesday.  Many are heading back to their workplaces in other Chinese towns and cities, after the epidemic turned a weeklong Lunar New Year family reunion into a citywide lockdown that lasted 11 weeks. An estimated 55,000 people left the city by train alone on the first day the railways reopened, heading to all parts of the country, from Shanghai to Beijing and Shenzhen to Chengdu, according to the local railway authority.  More than 100 commercial flights also took off from the city, the first departures sin
Chinese county locked down amid fear of second coronavirus wave
A county in central China has been put under total lockdown as authorities try to fend off a second coronavirus wave in the midst of a push to revive the economy. Curfew-like measures came into effect on Tuesday in Jia county, Henan province, with the area’s roughly 600,000 residents told to stay home, according to a notice on the country’s official social media account on Weibo. After months of restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, China has reported a decline in domestic cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. On Wednesday, the country reported 36 new infections – all but one imported cases. Chinese leaders are eager to restart the economy, but have been wary o