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
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
Inside China’s race to sell coronavirus testing kits to the world
As the horror of the coronavirus outbreak in China was unfolding over January’s Lunar New Year holiday, a group of technicians were holed up in a Nanjing facility with a supply of instant noodles, working long hours to develop testing kits for diagnosing the virus. Already at that point, the coronavirus had ripped through the city of Wuhan and was spreading rapidly around China. A handful of diagnostic tests had already been approved by the central government in Beijing, but hundreds of firms in China were still scrambling to develop new ones. “I did not think about applying for approvals in China,” said Zhang Shuwen, founder of Nanjing Liming Bio-products. “The application takes too much ti
Slowly and cautiously, China begins to get back to normal
After nearly two months of lockdowns, strict quarantine rules and travel restrictions, life is slowly returning to normal in China as the coronavirus outbreak – which has infected more than 81,000 people and claimed more than 3,200 lives in the country – starts to wind down. Workers are gradually returning to their jobs and there is at last relief for medical staff on the front line, as the number of new patients falls and the condition of others improves. Schools, factories, public spaces and tourism destinations are starting to reopen.  In northwestern Qinghai province, which mostly sits on the Tibetan plateau, China’s first batch of 144 high schools and secondary vocational schools reopen
China makes it illegal to trade or eat wild animals
China said it will ban the trade and consumption of wild animals, a multibillion-dollar industry that employs millions of people, as part of efforts to curb virus outbreaks. The Covid-19 epidemic that has killed more than 2,660 people in China and spread overseas has been linked to wild animals carrying a coronavirus and sold in markets for food.  Most researchers believe the virus jumped from a market animal to a human host, mutated and then infected others “Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the eating of wild animals, and the huge hidden threat to public health from the practice, have attracted wide attention,” the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress said, state broadcaster CCT
China looks ready to ban wildlife trade
The Chinese government is expected to fast-track a ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals after the practice was linked to the Covid-19 outbreak. On Monday the official news agency Xinhua reported that the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s highest legislative body, would review the ban at a meeting on February 24. The committee will also discuss the decision to postpone the annual legislative session that had been due to take place in early March. Trading and consumption of wild animals has been practiced in China for centuries but has been blamed for helping to spread the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, the disease which has so far infected more than