Liu Zhen

Liu Zhen

Reporter, China

Liu Zhen is a contributor to Inkstone. She covers China's diplomacy and defense from Beijing for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Japanese
Areas of Expertise
China military and diplomacy
Xi tells military to step up preparations for armed conflict
Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the military that it needs to become more prepared for armed confrontation and improve its ability to carry out military tasks.  On the sidelines of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, Xi said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had performed well in helping to contain the Covid-19 outbreak but should explore new ways of training during the pandemic.  “It is necessary to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions,” he was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.  The comments come as defense ministry spokesm
Coronavirus may have been silently spreading as early as October, study says
The coronavirus that results in Covid-19 may have started its course toward a pandemic as early as October, according to a new study on the genetic make-up of the coronavirus. As debate on the origin of the virus continues, a growing body of research suggests the virus began spreading earlier than many thought. The pathogen, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, is thought to have made the jump from an animal host to humans some time between October 6 and December 11 last year, according to an article released on Tuesday and set to be published in the scientific journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. The findings are based on analysis of more than 7,000 genome sequence assemblies collected from
US naval researchers want to revive centuries-old tool to contain China’s rise
The United States should encourage the use of privateers to fight Chinese aggression at sea, according to a pair of articles published in a magazine produced by the US Naval Institute. The reports suggest the US government issue letters of marque – a commission authorizing privately owned ships (privateers) to capture enemy merchant ships. The articles, titled “Unleash the Privateers!” and “US Privateering Is Legal,” were published in the April issue of Proceedings, a monthly journal published by the Naval Institute, a professional association of active and retired members of the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The authors – Mark Cancian, a retired US Marine Corps colonel and senior a
A coronavirus patient was found to be infectious for 49 days
Chinese researchers said they found a rare patient who had contracted the coronavirus and appeared to be infectious for 49 days.  Previous studies suggest that coronavirus patients usually shed the pathogen for 20 days and can remain infectious for 37 days. The researchers, who are affiliated with the Chinese military, warned in a preprint paper that there may be more such “chronic” patients with mild symptoms who could nonetheless spread the disease. “The virus and the host may even form a symbiotic relationship,” said the researchers from the Army Medical University in Chongqing, No 967 Hospital of PLA, Dalian, and General Hospital of the PLA Central Theater Command in Wuhan. The paper, p
‘Let’s play’: Beijing hints at payback for US curbs on Chinese state media
China has suggested that it will retaliate against the United States for reducing the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work in the US offices of major Chinese state-owned media organizations. Hua Chunying, the head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s information department, on Tuesday condemned the Trump administration’s restrictions on five Chinese state-run media outlets that will result in the effective expulsion of dozens of Chinese journalists from the US. “Now the US kicked off the game, let’s play,” she said in a tweet. The US said on Monday it will put a “personnel cap” on five organizations the Trump administration considers propaganda arms of the Chinese government. The restri
Chinese gangs intentionally spread African swine fever for profit
Chinese criminals have been exploiting the country’s African swine fever crisis by intentionally spreading the disease, or misinformation about the disease, to upsell pork, state media has reported.  The gangs use strong-arm tactics to force farmers to sell their pigs for a low price before smuggling the meat to other parts of China. They use forgery and bribery to resell it as healthy stock at a markup. Sometimes the gangs spread rumors about the virus, but in more extreme cases they use drones to drop infected items into farms, according to an investigation by the magazine China Comment, which is affiliated to state news agency Xinhua. African swine fever is not a risk to human health, b
China tests urban killer drones for export
A Chinese technology firm is testing a new attack drone specifically designed to help ground troops in street-level combat, in the hope that it can sell the unit abroad, reports say. Engineers recently completed a successful air-to-ground test firing exercise for the mini quadcopter named Tianyi, Modern Weaponry reported. The developer, Tianjin Zhongwei Aerospace Data System Technology, said the unmanned aerial vehicle had been designed to carry out both reconnaissance missions and close-range strikes against armored vehicles or individuals in an urban environment. “It is suitable for circumstances that include asymmetric combat, counterterrorism and special forces [operations] and street ba
China’s new supersonic arsenal could give bomber force greater reach
China’s new H-6N strategic bomber could reach a maximum strike range of 6,000km (3,728 miles), military sources said. The H-6 – which is based on the Russian cold war era Tupolev 16 (known to Nato as the Badger) that went into service in 1954 – has been the mainstay of China’s bomber force since the 1970s. The H-6K have played a key role in Beijing’s “island encirclement” drills over the self-ruled Taiwan since early 2018. The military exercises were designed by Beijing to send a warning to the island’s independence-leaning government. The latest variant of the plane was designed to carry CJ-100 supersonic cruise missiles or the WZ-8 supersonic stealth spy drone, which were seen by the publi
Mystery weapon shown off – and then removed – in Chinese military video
China’s military published a video clip of what appeared to be the launch of a new type of supersonic cruise missile on Wednesday, only to withdraw the film and replace it with a version with that scene cut out. The original footage, which ran for just over a minute, was released on social media by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force as part of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which falls on October 1. China’s missiles are likely to be a big feature of the military parade in Beijing on the anniversary, with several of them going on public display for the very first time. The event will be closely watched as China has ramped up its
Hong Kong police get new anti-riot suits from Chinese supplier
Hong Kong police are buying new anti-riot protective gear from a Chinese manufacturer, which has also supplied law enforcement units in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  Senior superintendent Kong Wing-chueng from the police public relations branch confirmed on Tuesday that the force had bought new protective suits. Sources said 500 sets of the suits had been purchased from a mainland company.  Kong said the purchase was made after protests in Hong Kong turned increasingly violent in recent months. “As a responsible employer, we purchase any equipment that provides the best protection to our officers,” he said. Police sources said it was the first time supplies for the force had been sou