Jun Mai

Jun Mai

Correspondent, Beijing

Mai is a contributor to Inkstone. He is an award-winning journalist covering China’s political and social news.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
Chinese politics, foreign policy, China's social activism
Tycoon who criticized China’s ‘emperor’ faces corruption trial
Ren Zhiqiang, a prominent real estate tycoon and a vocal critic of the Communist Party leadership, has been put on trial in Beijing for alleged corruption. A member of the party, Ren was a long-standing critic of China’s leadership, earning him the nickname Ren the Big Cannon. His most recent article, circulating online since March, was critical of the authorities’ initial missteps in handling the coronavirus, Beijing’s attempts to promote its successes in containing the outbreak and President Xi Jinping’s expansion of power. Although Ren did not mention Xi by name, he made references in his article to an “emperor” and a “clown” who personally directed China’s fight against Covid-19. Ren ha
China tells US to stop developing its relationship with Taiwan
The Chinese government has asked the US to stop deepening its unofficial diplomatic relations with Taiwan, after Washington’s announcement of a new economic dialogue with the island. “We called on the US to ... stop official interaction with Taiwan in all forms,” said Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday. Hua described the US Taiwan Relations Act, which allows for de facto diplomatic relations, as “illegal” and “invalid,” adding that it broke the one-China principle – under which Beijing insists that any country with which it has diplomatic relations must sever official links with Taipei. On Monday, US assistant secretary of state David Stilwell said
Why China pulls its punches when dealing with Washington
Beijing is trying to walk a fine line with Washington as it seeks to present a hardline stance to its domestic audience without causing irrevocable damage to the relationship. Analysts say that despite the so-called Wolf Warrior attitude of Chinese diplomats, official rhetoric and nationalistic online sentiment, Beijing has stopped short of overly provocative steps and has been unwilling or unable to retaliate with equal force to American diplomatic volleys. Tensions flared last week when the US ordered China’s consulate in Houston to close within 72 hours over alleged espionage activities. Beijing reacted by closing the American consulate in Chengdu, rather than shuttering a high-profile of
Hong Kong may pay higher price for lack of mass Covid-19 testing, expert says
Hong Kong could pay a high price in the long term for not conducting mass testing to achieve “zero cases” in the fight against Covid-19, a leading Chinese epidemiologist said.  “Hong Kong’s strategy is to keep the pandemic at a low level rather than trying to achieve zero cases,” Zhang Wenhong, head of Shanghai’s Covid-19 clinical expert team, said on the Twitter-like Weibo on Saturday. “Such measures consume fewer medical resources in the short term, but might inflict higher social and economic costs in the long term.” Zhang, who is also director of the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital at Fudan University in Shanghai, said Hong Kong’s strategy on Covid-19 testing was diffe
Global reach of Hong Kong security law ‘extraordinary and chilling’
The national security law that Beijing has imposed on Hong Kong has raised concerns among legal experts that it could apply everywhere. The controversial legislation came into force late on the night of June 30, after it was unanimously passed by Beijing’s top legislative body and signed into law by President Xi Jinping. The law prohibits secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, with a maximum penalty of life in prison. Legal experts said Article 38 of the law, which covers even offenses by people outside the city who are not Hong Kong residents, creates a “chilling” overreach.  They said the coverage goes furth
China’s leaders look to chart a course through choppy waters
Thousands of delegates will gather in Beijing on Friday as the Chinese Communist Party battles to meet the social and economic targets that were decided before the coronavirus pandemic led to the country’s first economic slump in decades. The annual meetings of the legislature and its advisory body, known as the “two sessions,” are mostly rubber-stamp affairs where the government makes public its yearly economic agenda, growth targets and the national budget. The biggest political gathering of the year, held in the Great Hall of the People, has been delayed from its usual date in March for the first time in more than two decades because of the Covid-19 outbreak. It also takes place against t
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
Not wearing masks a ‘big mistake’ in US and Europe, Chinese scientist says
People in the United States and Europe are wrong not to wear face masks in public during the Covid-19 pandemic, said the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks,” Gao Fu, the agency’s director-general, said in an interview with the journal Science. “This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact,” he said. “Droplets play a very important role – you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth.” Gao joined a chorus of researchers urging global health authorities to reconsider not recommending wider use of the face mask b
A Chinese tycoon criticized coronavirus response. Now he is missing
Friends of Ren Zhiqiang, the Chinese former property tycoon and outspoken critic of the country’s ruling Communist Party, are concerned about his whereabouts after losing contact with him for several days. The 69-year-old has been out of touch since an article he wrote criticizing the way in which Chinese authorities responded to the coronavirus outbreak was widely circulated online, they said. “I haven’t been able to reach Ren Zhiqiang since Thursday night … it’s been over 72 hours already,” Wang Ying, an entrepreneur and friend, said. Zhang Ming, a history professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said he too had been unable to contact Ren. “A citizen can’t just disappear, we need to know
Chinese officials thank the people after ‘gratitude education’ campaign backfires
Communist officials in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak have praised local residents as heroes in an attempt to contain a public backlash sparked by the suggestion they should be grateful to the Chinese leadership.  The Communist Party chief of Hubei province, where more than 67,000 people have been infected by the virus since December, made the remarks on Sunday while visiting front-line medical staff in Wuhan.  “Wuhan is a city of heroes, and the Wuhan people are heroes,” said Ying Yong, who was appointed to the post last month in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.  “[Wuhan’s people] … have shown resilience and strong will … I hereby express my sincere gratitude to the people o