Laurie Chen

Laurie Chen

Reporter, China

Laurie is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a China reporter at the South China Morning Post.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
Chinese society, internet culture
Outbreak brings racial prejudices out into the open. Again
In a New York subway station, a Chinese woman was punched and called “diseased.” In Rome, the director of a music conservatory asked all “Oriental” students not to come to class. In France, a newspaper front page featured an Asian woman under the headline, “Yellow Alert.” Accounts of xenophobic abuse against Chinese people and other East Asians have mounted in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to over 20 countries since it was first reported in China in December. But as the virus has killed more than 500 people and sickened over 28,000, mostly in China, Chinese and Asian communities abroad have become casualties of worsening racial discrimination. Asian diaspora members
Disabled boy dies after family quarantined for coronavirus
A disabled teenager in rural central China died after he was left at home for six days without care while his relatives were quarantined on suspicion of having the Wuhan coronavirus, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Thursday. The 17-year-old, named Yan Cheng, had cerebral palsy, which is often caused by brain damage. He required around-the-clock care. The boy died in Hubei province on Wednesday, local government officials were quoted as saying. Authorities had launched an investigation, the report said. Cheng, his 49-year-old father and his 11-year-old brother traveled from Wuhan on January 17 to celebrate Lunar New Year in their ancestral village in Huahe township, Hongan county – about
‘Complicated and grave’ coronavirus outbreak may be bigger than Sars
China is facing a larger epidemic than Sars, with the number of Wuhan coronavirus infections in the mainland surpassing the tally of severe acute respiratory syndrome cases it saw during the 2002-03 outbreak. And as the pneumonia-like illness, also known as the novel coronavirus, continues to spread six days after authorities took the unprecedented step of locking down Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and epicenter of the outbreak, more cases of human-to-human transmission have been reported outside China. Meanwhile, the only region in China that had yet to be affected, Tibet, reported a suspected case, and Sichuan reported its first death from the virus – the seventh province outside Hu
China hustles to build coronavirus hospital – in 6 days
The central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a deadly coronavirus outbreak, is rushing to build a makeshift hospital on its outskirts as a quarantine and treatment center for affected patients, in a move that replicates a decision regarded as instrumental in Beijing’s fight 17 years ago against severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). Hundreds of workers have been mobilized to complete the hospital – essentially a quarantine center, with capacity for about 1,000 patients – within six days as the disease spread rapidly across the country. As of Friday, China had reported 875 confirmed cases of infection and 26 fatalities. In addition, the US, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand,
China commemorates national hero: its first female tractor driver
Liang Jun, a woman who became an archetype for the ideal socialist worker, died on Tuesday in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. She was 89 years old.  Liang, who had been sick for the past two years, was famous in China because she was featured on the country’s 1 yuan banknote, which pictured her contentedly driving a tractor. The banknote was released in 1962 and stopped circulating in 2000. In 1950, Liang was hailed as “China's first female tractor driver” by People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece. That same year, she became a “national model worker,” which is an honorary title given to those deemed to have contributed significantly to building a socialist society. The title w
Chinese blog panned for dissing Australian firefighters
A viral blog that attacked Australia’s failure to stop the months-long bush fires and implied Chinese firefighters were braver and more patriotic has stirred vigorous online debate. The post, published on China’s Facebook-like WeChat, contrasted the situation in Australia with China’s largest-ever wildfire, which lasted just under a month in 1987.  The article quickly racked up more than 23 million views, but was criticized by high-profile media commentators for insensitivity and using nationalism to generate cheap viral clicks. Friday’s article, titled “If it weren’t for the Australian bush fires, I would’ve never known that China was so powerful 33 years ago,” also suggested that Australia
Rare advert featuring same-sex couple goes viral in China
A new ad from the Chinese shopping site Tmall featuring a same-sex couple has been hailed as a small but significant win by China’s LGBT community. The 20-second clip released this week, promoting the site’s annual pre-Lunar New Year shopping event, features a gay man introducing his partner to his family. In the clip, the gay man brought his boyfriend to his home. On the dinner table, the boyfriend called his partner’s father “dad,” in a way married people in China address their in-laws.  The clip had racked up thousands of views and a wave of support on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, suggesting young Chinese audiences are increasingly accepting of the LGBT community. Chinese LGBT a
Beijing unveils plans to become ‘international music capital’ in 5 years
Beijing – China’s political, economic and cultural capital – has set an ambitious plan to become an “international music capital” by 2025. Wang Yezhen, an official with the Beijing Municipal Committee’s propaganda department, told Beijing Business Today on Tuesday that the city aimed to expand its music and creative industries to be worth more than $17 billion in five years. In 2017, the sector was about half that size, he was quoted as saying. Its proposal also called for the city to speed up development of its digital music industry, offer artists better copyright protections and build more small-scale venues for live music. “[Our research has shown that] the scope of the music industry is
K-pop star ‘liked’ a tweet about Hong Kong. His Chinese fans are not amused
K-pop singer Choi Siwon — from the popular boy band Super Junior — has apologized to his 16 million Chinese fans for “liking” a post on Twitter about the Hong Kong protests. Choi, 33, liked – and later unliked – a Tweet from the South Korean newspaper Chosun on Sunday which linked to an interview with Chow Pak-kwan, the 21-year-old Hong Kong protester who was shot by a police officer at point-blank range on November 11.  Mainland internet users called for Choi to leave Super Junior. He is another public figure from the Asian entertainment world who has sparked an online backlash from nationalistic Chinese over alleged support for the anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Many commenters on
Chinese woman gave birth at 67 to her third child – and could be fined for it
China’s oldest new mother and her husband may be fined for breaking family planning rules because they already have two adult children, according to a Chinese media report. A 67-year-old retired hospital worker, surnamed Tian, gave birth to a girl named Tianci by cesarean section at the Zaozhuang Maternity and Child Health Hospital in Shandong province on October 25. Tianci’s birth made headlines around the world, and some commentators questioned her parents’ claim that she was conceived naturally. “We don’t know what people are saying online, but this really happened to us,” the news website ThePaper.cn quoted Huang Weiping, the child’s father, on Saturday as saying. “Besides being in good