Jun Mai

Jun Mai

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

Mystery virus in China isn’t Sars or Mers, officials say
Health authorities in central China say a mysterious form of pneumonia that has infected dozens of people is not Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) or Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome). As of Sunday, officials in the city of Wuhan were still in the process of identifying the virus. A total of 59 people had been hospitalized with the as-yet unidentified form of pneumonia. In Hong Kong, which is connected with the mainland Chinese city via high-speed rail, there were a total of 17 suspected cases of the illness found in people who had returned from Wuhan. In Singapore, the Ministry of Health earlier said it had been informed of a suspected case, involving a three-year-old girl from
Mystery virus in China isn’t Sars or Mers, officials say
China faces ‘huge challenge’ in living up to US trade promises
China has released fewer details about its trade deal with the US than the American side has – a sign of caution as one government adviser warned it would not be easy for Beijing to live up to its commitments. “For China, committing to and carrying out the phase one agreement is a huge challenge,” Shi Yinhong, a Chinese government adviser and international relations professor at Renmin University, said. “China will need to buy something like $300 billion worth of US products in the next two years and lots more US agricultural goods. Does China need that amount of US soybeans?”  A fact sheet released by Washington on Friday said China and the US had reached a “phase one” agreement on nine are
China faces ‘huge challenge’ in living up to US trade promises
Meet Chen Quanguo, Beijing’s hatchet man in Xinjiang
For Chen Quanguo, it was just a normal day at the office in China’s Xinjiang region on December 3. His agenda included chairing a study session on patriotism, a regular event for Beijing’s point man in suppressing what China calls a separatist and terrorist insurgency in the region bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. “[We] must continue an extensive campaign on legal education and anti-extremism, to guide cadres and people of all ethnic groups to further strengthen their patriotic awareness,” says the official statement of his comments at the meeting. Some hours later and more than 6,500 miles away, Chen’s activities were very much on the mind of more than 400 US lawmakers waking up in Washi
Meet Chen Quanguo, Beijing’s hatchet man in Xinjiang
Who are the elite Chinese soldiers who picked up trash in Hong Kong?
Beijing has stationed troops in Hong Kong since 1997, after China regained control of the former British colony, but they are rarely seen outside of their barracks. But in their second high-profile appearance on the streets of Hong Kong in 22 years, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers streamed out of their camps on Saturday to remove roadblocks set up by anti-government protesters. While not military in nature, the exercise served as a gentle warning to activists in the highly autonomous Chinese city who have grown increasingly confrontational in pressing their political demands, said Anthony Wong, a Macau-based military expert. Wearing shorts and holding brooms and buckets, about 50 sol
Who are the elite Chinese soldiers who picked up trash in Hong Kong?
Beijing to prioritize turning Hongkongers into patriots
Beijing will call on Hong Kong to boost efforts to safeguard national security, a senior official said on Friday as anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city entered their fifth month. Shen Chunyao, the head of a legislative committee overseeing the Basic Law, a constitutional document underpinning Chinese rule of the former British colony, spoke in Beijing following Thursday’s conclusion of a key Communist Party meeting. At that meeting, also known as the party’s third plenum, party leaders issued a communique highlighting the importance of the “one country, two systems” principle for governing Hong Kong and the former Portuguese colony of Macau. Here are the takeaways f
Beijing to prioritize turning Hongkongers into patriots
Communist leader purged for opposing Tiananmen crackdown finally laid to rest
The late Chinese Communist Party leader known for his sympathy toward China’s student protesters in 1989 was finally allowed to have his tomb – 14 years after his death.  Former Communist Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang, who in 1989 opposed a military crackdown on the protests, was buried together with his wife on the outskirts of Beijing on Friday, a day after the 100th anniversary of Zhao’s birth.  Friday’s ceremony followed long, drawn-out negotiations between Zhao’s family and the party leadership over a burial site for the former leader, according to one of his sons, Zhao Erjun. Zhao was one of the leaders who pioneered China’s economic reforms, but his name is closely associated w
Communist leader purged for opposing Tiananmen crackdown finally laid to rest
Kicking Huawei out is more important than a trade deal, Bannon says
Driving Huawei out of the United States and Europe is “10 times more important” than a trade deal with China, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said. While Bannon holds no public office, his brazen call for curbing China economic influence in the US mirrors the Trump administration’s toughening sanctions against Chinese companies. President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week to effectively ban the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei form the US market and cut off its vital supply as talks to resolve the US-China trade war reached a stalemate. “The executive order is 10 times more important than walking away from the trade deal,” Bannon told the South China Morning Post
Kicking Huawei out is more important than a trade deal, Bannon says
30 years on from Tiananmen crackdown, Beijing still thinks it got it right
When US president Ronald Reagan and Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang walked out of the White House arm in arm on January 10, 1984, a sense of optimism and hope swept across the Pacific. The American public liked this all-smiling new face of China. Many were convinced that Zhao’s trip would mark the beginning of a relationship that could eventually transform China into a country that resembled a Western democracy. Fast forward to June 1989, Zhao, then head of China’s Communist Party, found himself a prisoner of his own state. An unprecedented student-led demonstration against corruption erupted in April and spread across China like wildfire. The protest was later branded as an “antirevolutionary r
30 years on from Tiananmen crackdown, Beijing still thinks it got it right
China can deliver a ‘deadly punch’ to the US, ex-official says
China has many options for retaliating against the United States and is likely to implement sanctions that go beyond tariffs on trade in goods, a former top government official has said. “China will not only act as a kung fu master in response to US tricks, but also as an experienced boxer and can deliver a deadly punch at the end,” Wei Jianguo, a former vice-minister at the Ministry of Commerce responsible for foreign trade, told the South China Morning Post. Beijing is considering how it will strike back at the US after President Donald Trump on Friday raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China’s response can be consequential to ending – or escalating – a trade war that has di
China can deliver a ‘deadly punch’ to the US, ex-official says
Law professor who criticized President Xi Jinping barred from leaving China
China’s liberal thinkers have simmered with anxiety since Beijing stunned the world last March by scrapping a term limit on the Chinese presidency. But few have stuck their necks out quite like Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at the prestigious Tsinghua University who openly criticized what he saw as Beijing’s dangerous march toward strongman rule under the Chinese Communist Party. But while many of his peers saw the rebuke as an act of bravery, given the mounting pressure on China’s intellectuals to toe the party line, Xu is now paying the price for speaking out. Xu has been barred from leaving the country, people familiar with the situation told the South China Morning Post. Earlier this mon
Law professor who criticized President Xi Jinping barred from leaving China