Keegan Elmer

Keegan Elmer

Reporter, China

Keegan is a contributor to Inkstone. He is a reporter at the South China Morning Post covering China in world affairs.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Diplomacy, trade, politics
China tight-lipped after India border skirmish
A bloody skirmish between Indian and Chinese soldiers along a disputed border last week left 20 Indian soldiers dead and 76 injured, but we do not know the casualty numbers from the Chinese side.  This is by design, as Beijing has been reluctant to comment publicly on any casualties from the Galwan Valley incident. On Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian dismissed Indian media reports claiming 40 Chinese soldiers had been killed, calling it “fake news.”   Three separate sources told the South China Morning Post that China’s casualty count was much lower than India’s and Beijing remained silent to avoid escalating tensions.  Spokesman Zhao said the two sides “agreed to take nece
Chinese people are using fake Covid-19 test results to fly home from Russia
Chinese citizens have faked Covid-19 test results so they could board flights home from Russia, prompting multiple warnings from Beijing’s envoy to Moscow. The embassy issued warnings on May 29 and again on Sunday after discovering people had forged negative results for nucleic acid tests that the Chinese government requires passengers to have taken within the five days preceding their flight from Russia to China. It said the passengers had endangered the health of the passengers and crews of the flights, and undermined China’s domestic epidemic prevention work. The counterfeiters were under investigation and would “bear corresponding legal responsibilities,” it said. Released by the embassy
Chinese doctors wear diapers to work long shifts in coronavirus fight
Medical personnel in Wuhan, the epicenter of the current coronavirus outbreak, wear diapers as they work through grueling shifts in protective suits, often until skin irritation from their masks leaves bloody marks on their faces, a doctor said on Wednesday. “When doctors and nurses are in the ward,” dressed in protective clothing that seals them off from the environment, “they cannot eat, drink or go to the bathroom,” Han Ding, deputy director of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing, said at a press briefing in the central city of Wuhan. “Just in case they must urinate, they [wear a] diaper, and wash up after they’re done with their shift,” he said. The reported conditions o
China says it will move to “normalize” internment camps in Xinjiang
China will move to “normalize” mass internment facilities in Xinjiang and open what Beijing calls education facilities in the region in the future, amid rising US-China clashes over the treatment of ethnic minorities in the western region. In a press conference on Monday, Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang government, took aim at foreign media and western governments, blaming them for distorting the image of China’s controversial counter-terrorism efforts in the predominately Muslim region, in particular its mass detention of Uygurs accused of harboring extremist ideas by the authorities. “The US is getting restless and has launched a smear campaign against Xinjiang,” he said. “But no f
Chinese professor accused of spying banned from entering 26 Europe states
A Chinese professor who headed a Confucius Institute in Brussels has been barred from entering the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen zone for eight years after being accused of espionage, amid growing scrutiny of the Beijing-run cultural offices that have been established at universities around the world. Song Xinning, former director of the institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), said he had been accused by authorities in Belgium of supporting Chinese intelligence activities in the city – an accusation he denied. The Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported on Tuesday that VUB had ignored a warning from the State Security Service about the institute’s activities. The ar
Poorly organized and tightly controlled: inside China’s Belt and Road party
Trying to dispel foreign skepticism over its Belt and Road initiative, Beijing held a three-day summit last week gathering foreign leaders and delegates from 150 countries. But traffic woes, poor organization and tight media control during the forum – China’s most important diplomatic event of the year – have raised questions over its ability to project soft power. Poor organization Lack of a clear schedule often left attendees either waiting for hours on end or scrambling to catch up after an event started suddenly. One delegate from a European country complained that the forum was chaotic, saying there was no clear agenda provided – only a schedule giving time slots for speakers. Televisio
Why the European Union nearly walked out on its talks with China
Two days before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang set off for Brussels to attend Tuesday’s summit with European Union leaders, Chinese diplomats were getting desperate. They were struggling to get their EU counterparts back to the table to agree on a joint statement to be released at the end of the meeting between Li and EU leaders. The two sides were able to draft a statement at the last minute, but not before European negotiators initially threatened to walk out from the discussions. The rare show of hostility, diplomats said, reflected the EU’s impatience with China’s lack of solid promises or follow-through on when and how it would deliver the market reforms the bloc had been waiting for years
Why China is cozying up to Europe
As China finds itself locked in a trade war with the world’s No 1 economy, there are perhaps few partners more important than the No 2. As a bloc of 28 countries, the European Union is the world’s second-biggest economy, sitting between the United States and China. The significance of staying close with the EU will not be lost on China’s president Xi Jinping. Having landed in Rome on Thursday, Xi will use his next three days in Europe to try to ease fears that Beijing has become a threat to the EU. Major members of the bloc have expressed concern that China is trying to sway central and eastern European nations with promises of investment so that they will cut Beijing some slack on issues s
China’s push into Europe is looking like a rough ride
When the leaders of China and 16 countries in central and eastern Europe gather in southern Croatia early next month, Beijing will be looking to one project as a symbol of what they can achieve. The project, the Peljesac Bridge, is funded by the European Union and is being built by a Chinese state-owned firm. When completed, it will be the longest bridge in Croatia, with the second-longest span in Europe. The bridge exemplifies the strategy that China has promoted under the country’s trade push into Europe, commonly known as the “16 + 1” initiative. But with few other signs of progress for the 16 European players, participants are questioning whether the strategy is wishful thinking. The br
Beware the ‘Chinaman’ with the sausage in his briefs, says Aussie senator
What the biggest threat to Australia’s lush, diverse ecosystem? Start with the “bloody old Chinaman” with a sausage hidden in his underwear, according to Australian politician Barry O’Sullivan. The Aussie senator has been criticized for making racist comments on Tuesday in the Australian Senate during a debate about risks to the country’s agriculture and food safety. The Chinese embassy in Australia has protested the remarks as racist. And Chin Tan, the Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner, described them as “racially derogatory,” according to SBS News. The Australian senator’s racial comments come as ties are strained between the two countries, with recent contentious issues includi