Owen Churchill

Owen Churchill

US correspondent 

Owen is a contributor to Inkstone. He is a US correspondent for the South China Morning Post based in Washington DC.

Location
United States
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Human rights, US-China relations, China's influence overseas
Presidential election proves a nail-biter for those caught in crossfire of US-China rivalry
If Donald Trump and Joe Biden are to be believed, the upcoming presidential election is the most consequential in American history. But the race is also being closely watched around the world and few are following more closely than those whose lives and livelihoods are wrapped up in the US-China relationship. A seemingly endless cascade of actions in recent weeks – ranging from sanctions against Chinese officials over human rights abuses and their handling of Hong Kong, to stand-offs over Chinese tech companies – has seen relations fray to their most precarious in decades. To many caught in the middle, the prospect of a new administration in January provides the possibility of a pause, but
Joe Biden vows to end US reliance on Chinese medical equipment
American Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday vowed to end the United States’ reliance on China and other countries for medical equipment should he be elected. The outcome of the November election could alter the future of US-China relations, which have deteriorated under the Trump administration, although analysts say Washington’s skepticism of Beijing will likely continue under a Biden presidency. Biden also accused President Donald Trump of failing to acknowledge the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic and putting his own interests before those of the American people. Addressing the Democratic Party convention to formally accept his nomination, Biden accused Trump of “coz
Not their ‘president’? Washington may change what to call China’s leader
Lawmakers in Washington have introduced a bill to change the way the federal government refers to the leader of China, prohibiting the use of the term “president.” The Name the Enemy Act would require that official US government documents refer to the head of state according to his or her role as head of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. The Chinese leader, currently Xi Jinping, holds three official titles, none of which is president. The titles are head of state (guojia zhuxi, literally “state chairman”), chairman of the central military commission and general secretary of the CCP. Yet the English-speaking world, including President Donald Trump, has generally opted for “president,” whi
Yale accused of discriminating against white and Asian people
After two years of investigation, the US Department of Justice on Thursday accused Yale University of illegally discriminating against Asian-American and white undergraduate applicants through its admission policies. In a letter to Yale’s lawyers, the Justice Department threatened a civil lawsuit unless the Connecticut-based private university agreed not to use “race or national origin” in its upcoming 2020-21 undergraduate admissions cycle. It gave Yale until August 27 to comply. The accusation is the latest attack by the Trump administration on affirmative action policies designed to increase access to higher education for systematically marginalized groups, such as black applicants. “If
Trump moves to punish China over Hong Kong
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order ending Hong Kong’s preferential trade treatment and enacted a bill that would require sanctions against foreign individuals and banks that contribute to the erosion of the city’s autonomy. “Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” Trump said in a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House. “No special privileges, no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies.” On Wednesday, China said it would retaliate and sanction United States institutions and individuals. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act and executive order are in response to China’s imposition of a controversial national secur
‘Greatest long-term threat’: FBI director puts full-court press on Beijing
China is seeking to become the world’s only superpower by usurping the United States with a government-directed “campaign of theft and malign influence,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a wide-ranging attack on Beijing’s behavior on the world stage delivered at the conservative think tank Hudson Institute, Wray said that the counter-intelligence and economic espionage threat from China represented the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality.” China’s “generational fight” to usurp the US was playing out in fields ranging from local politics to industries including aviation, agriculture, robotics and healt
China warns US cut to WHO funding weakens global coronavirus response
China has denounced Washington’s plan to suspend funding to the World Health Organization, saying it would weaken the coordinated effort needed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that Beijing was concerned about the Trump administration’s announcement to withhold funding to the global health agency over alleged missteps it made in responding to the coronavirus outbreak in China.  “The decision of the US will weaken the WHO’s ability to handle the pandemic, especially the nations whose capabilities are not well developed,” Zhao said. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the US would suspend funding to the WHO for a planned 60-
US military requests $20 billion to counter China
American military officials have requested an additional $20 billion in funding from legislators to fortify the country’s naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region. The new funding request is a sign of Washington’s intensifying efforts to counter China’s military presence in the Pacific.  “Without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China and Russia will be emboldened to take action in the region to supplant US interests,” read an executive summary of the request obtained by Breaking Defence, a military news outlet that first reported the move. The request by the Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Command for funding, which would last through financial year 2026,
China’s fentanyl vendors are now peddling unproven coronavirus drugs
Once a flashpoint in US-China relations over the sale of synthetic opioids and their precursors, online drug vendors in China are pivoting to other white powdered substances: unproven treatments for Covid-19. Chemical vendors on social media and e-commerce platforms are responding to surging demand for antiviral medication like chloroquine and remdesivir. They are exploiting the wave of hope propelled by as-yet inconclusive trials and US President Donald Trump’s repeated promotions of the drugs.  Both drugs – long-time treatments of malaria that are yet to be clinically proven in the US as safe and effective on Covid-19 patients – are already being hoarded around the world and used for self-
Trump stops calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ after using the term 16 times
President Donald Trump on Monday stopped referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and called for the protection of Asian-Americans. “It’s very important that we totally protect our Asian-American community in the United States and all around the world,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “They’re amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way shape or form,” he said.  Trump’s shift in tone was abrupt, having called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” at least once every day since March 17 – a reference that was made at least eight times on Twitter and another eight times in the White House. Asked in the briefing why he stopped using the term, Trump