Mimi Lau

Mimi Lau

Correspondent, China

Mimi is a contributor to Inkstone and a reporter at the South China Morning Post. An experienced and passionate journalist, she believes firmly in giving a voice to the voiceless.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
China's human rights, religious affairs, civil society
China may become world’s first to bring AI to legal system
China may soon become the world’s first country to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into a legal system as authorities want to use the technology to overhaul its judicial operations. The hope is that AI can help monitor judges, streamline court procedures and boost judicial credibility, according to the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) work report released during China’s annual parliamentary sessions on Monday. The 14th five-year plan, outlined at the year’s “two sessions” political gathering, sets a roadmap to upgrade China’s legal system by 2025.  According to legal experts, the changes are part of China’s “smart court” initiative, a signature policy of SPC president Zhou Qiang. He want
What’s the deal between the Vatican and Beijing?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. A 2018 deal between China and the Vatican aimed to end a schism over the appointment of bishops in the world’s most populous country will expire later this month. While Pope Francis is willing to renew the pact, Beijing has yet to publicly express its intentions. The agreement aimed to resolve a split among China’s 12 million Catholics, who are split between a so-called underground church that is loyal to the Vatican and those who attend state-sanctioned churches. China under Chinese Communist Party rule has had a turbulent relationship with the Catholic
Did China just acknowledge the scale of its Xinjiang camps?
China released a white paper on Thursday claiming that its far-western region of Xinjiang has provided “vocational training” to nearly 1.3 million workers every year on average from 2014 to 2019. It comes as Beijing is facing mounting criticism from Western countries and human rights groups over its policies in the region, where it is believed to have detained at least 1 million Uygurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in internment camps. China has been accused of subjecting detainees to political indoctrination and forced labor in the camps, but it has denied the allegations and insisted they are “vocational training centers” where people learn language and job skills. Observers said the
Can Pope Francis and Xi Jinping find common ground?
When Beijing and the Vatican reached a provisional agreement in 2018 over who had the authority to appoint Roman Catholic bishops in China, it signaled a possible breakthrough in a troubled relationship stretching back six decades.  It seems the signals were wrong. Details of the pact – forged after more than three decades of negotiations – have never been made public. Still, the agreement marked the communist state’s first indication it was ready to share some authority with the Pope over control of China’s Catholic Church.  The hope was the agreement would heal a rift from the 1940s, when Beijing kicked the church out of China and started an autonomous Catholic church that operates indepe
China confirms arrest of citizen journalist covering coronavirus
A former lawyer and citizen journalist who reported on the coronavirus outbreak from central China has been formally arrested on public disturbance charges in Shanghai, her father has confirmed. The family was notified on Friday of Zhang Zhan’s arrest for allegedly “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a catch-all charge often used by the authorities to detain dissidents in China.  Prosecutors approved the arrest in Shanghai’s Pudong district. According to the official notice given to her parents, Zhang, 37, was in police custody in the district. “I’m very worried about her health and the detention conditions, and her mother is heartbroken,” Zhang’s 63-year-old father, who declined to g
Secretive church linked to South Korea’s outbreak may have ties to Wuhan
Members of the Christian sect linked to a cluster of coronavirus cases in South Korea held meetings in Wuhan until December, only stopping when they realized that their community had been hit by Covid-19, the previously unknown disease caused by the virus. The South China Morning Post has learned that the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the epidemic, has around 200 members, most of whom are currently under quarantine outside the city. “Rumors about a virus began to circulate in November but no one took them seriously,” said one member, a 28-year-old kindergarten teacher. “I was in Wuhan in December when our church suspended all gatherings as soon as we
China’s poor are hit twice in coronavirus outbreak
The economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak is taking its toll on China’s poorest people as experts and the country’s leaders warned it could undermine its poverty reduction drive. The disease has killed more than 2,000 people and seen many parts of the country go into lockdown, damaging both rural and urban economies and pushing some of those affected back into poverty. Five years ago President Xi Jinping of China promised to eradicate absolute poverty in the country and build what he called a “comprehensive well-off society” by 2020. At the end of last year, 5.5 million people in rural areas remained in poverty – down from 99 million in 2012, according to the National Bureau o
Chinese city reports 6,000 coronavirus cases. It may be ‘tip of the iceberg’
The official number of coronavirus cases in China might not reflect the true scale of the crisis, as many patients at the center of the outbreak may not be able to get diagnosed, medical experts said. Wuhan – the city of 11 million people where the deadly virus outbreak began in December – has so far reported more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like illness, or about one-third of the total number across mainland China. But the real number could be much higher given a shortage of coronavirus testing kits, medical experts say. Cases are only classified as confirmed once a patient has twice tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus.  Frontline doctors in Wuhan said that the
Shanghai students protest after school dropped commitment to ‘free thinking’
Dozens of students at a prestigious university in Shanghai took part in a flash mob demonstration on Wednesday against changes to the school charter that removed commitments to “free thinking” and “democratic management.” The revised charter of the Fudan University vows to uphold the leadership of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which has in recent years tightened ideological control in schools, spooking the country’s liberal thinkers. Campus security and teaching staff looked on as the students sang the first verse of Fudan’s school song, which celebrates the pursuit of academic independence and free thought without political and ideological influence. No slogans were shouted or banner
Beijing is struggling to recruit people to run Xinjiang
China’s Xinjiang autonomous region has attracted international attention for all the wrong reasons – police crackdowns and reports that local ethnic Uygur people are being held in internment camps.  What hasn’t gained much attention is the difficulty Beijing has drafting staff to execute its policies in the far northwest area. The measures targeting Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have triggered “widespread discontent among Han Chinese officials and citizens,” a source close to the central government told the South China Morning Post.  The source said Chinese President Xi Jinping was aware of the problem because he had been briefed by the country’s chief Xinjiang policy coordinator, Wan