Mark Magnier

Mark Magnier

US correspondent

Mark Magnier is a contributor to Inkstone. He is a US correspondent for South China Morning Post based in Washington.

Language spoken
English
Areas of Expertise
US-China relations and policy
Economic toll of coronavirus could be unlike anything we’ve seen before
Before the coronavirus crisis began rippling through the global economy, Susan Wang had big plans for 2020. Not only was she going to buy a new Apple MacBook and iPad, plus a projector so she could host friends for movies at home, but she was set on making a career move. “I was planning to change my job, but my headhunter told me that all recruitment had been postponed to the second quarter,” said the 27-year-old who works for a British company in Hong Kong. “Our headquarters in London has a plan for redundancy, too. It is better to save some money in case I get laid off.” As Covid-19 spreads across the world, sending stock markets reeling and prompting companies to slash jobs, Wang has bec
Why Trump officials don’t want to cut tariffs on Chinese medical supplies
Hardliners within the Trump administration are trying desperately to avoid reducing tariffs on imported medical supplies from China, hoping to stave off mounting pressure from health care workers and a panicked public as the coronavirus death toll mounts. After an extended US-China trade war and President Donald Trump’s signing of an initial agreement in December, hawks within the administration are loath to set a precedent.  Their concern is that emergency concessions could undercut their hawkish trade stance toward Beijing, which Trump sees as a cornerstone accomplishment leading up to the November elections, say former officials and analysts. “There will be inexorable pressure to relax t
China and US play the blame game as world struggles through crisis
Already battered relations between the United States and China have declined to their lowest level in recent memory at a time when the coronavirus crisis calls for unprecedented global cooperation and collaboration. As of Friday, the virus has infected almost 245,000 people and killed over 10,000. China watchers say a range of irritants, mutual recriminations, long-standing and festering tensions are putting the global economy at further risk and increasing the chance of a military misstep. Events fueling trans-Pacific mistrust in recent weeks include finger-pointing over who “started” the coronavirus, with President Donald Trump repeatedly calling the pathogen the “Chinese virus.” For its 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
US needs more guns and friends to counter China, Pentagon official says
The United States must prepare for a possible military conflict with China, including by developing new weapons and strengthening ties with allies, a senior Trump administration official said on Thursday. In remarks that underscored growing competition between the US government and an increasingly powerful Chinese military, Chad Sbragia, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, said the Pentagon needs to “build and deploy a more lethal, resilient joint force.”  That includes more hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, robots and laser weapons, Sbragia told the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was set up by Congress in 2000 to evaluate the defense implicat
Arrest of Harvard professor rattles science world
The Trump administration is adopting increasingly aggressive tactics in its bid to counter Chinese theft of trade secrets with the arrest of a prominent Harvard professor and high-profile investigations into top universities. The move against one of the nation’s foremost scientists – Charles Lieber, chairman of the Harvard chemistry department – and the threat of criminal charges against Harvard, Yale and other prestigious universities over reporting violations has sent shock waves through the scientific establishment. Unlike many other recent cases involving scientists of Chinese descent, Lieber is Caucasian. He and leading universities are also being accused of failing to disclose ties to
US Senate proposes spending $1 billion to fight Huawei’s 5G dominance
New legislation introduced in the US Senate on Tuesday aims to create a viable Western alternative to China’s telecoms giant Huawei and undercut the country’s dominance in global 5G networks. The lack of global alternatives to Huawei has been one of the biggest problems in Washington’s bid to counter Chinese strength in 5G networks – the faster and higher capacity fifth generation of telecommunication systems. The Senate bill tries to address that gap. If passed, it would spend more than $1 billion to bolster US competitiveness, allocate new spectrum and support research and development in the telecommunications industry. “We are at a critical point in history for defining the future of the
Museums grappling with how best to tell the story of Chinese Americans
A gravestone. Massive rocks. A mouldy qipao that has been sitting in an attic for 80 years. Among the challenges for America’s hundred or so private museums devoted to showcasing Chinese culture is how to turn down beloved donations from the public. This is just one of the hurdles Chinese-American museums face as they increase in number and prominence in line with the community. Even as the soon-to-officially-open Chinese American Museum in Washington scrambles for artefacts to fill out its collection, established museums routinely turn away old postcards, souvenirs from some recent holiday in China or dusty statues of obscure deities – without hurting prospective donors’ feelings. “Someone’
US to boost soft power with Mandarin network
The US government is planning a major new Mandarin-language initiative in an effort to bolster its global reputation at a time of Chinese ascendancy and eroding American soft power. Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) are joining forces on a new network called Global Mandarin, according to internal memos, job placement advertisements and interviews with people close to Washington’s information arms. Its annual budget would be between $5 million and $10 million, potentially rising in the second year, according to a source who requested anonymity given links to the networks. It would focus on softer content aimed at reaching younger Chinese in the US, China and beyond. The US roll
Alarm in US over China’s recruitment of scientists
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has deployed counter-intelligence agents in all 56 US field offices and centralized efforts to thwart China’s aggressive theft of strategic secrets and its recruitment of American scientists, according to Senate testimony on Tuesday. Field offices are command posts spread across American cities that are used to carry out local and regional operations.  “Technology is the key to military and economic power,” John Brown, assistant director of the FBI’s counter-intelligence division, told the US Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “Time and again the Communist Party has shown that it will do whatever is