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.

Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Human rights, US-China relations, China's influence overseas
US-China relations: Top diplomats set to meet in Alaska next week
America’s top diplomat will hold talks with high-ranking Chinese officials next Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska, the state department announced on Wednesday.  US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan plan to discuss “a range of issues” with Yang Jiechi, China’s most senior foreign policy official, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the department said. Blinken said the meeting would not herald further high-level talks unless it could yield “tangible outcomes.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday emphasized the fact that the meeting was taking place in the US. “It was important to us that this administration’s first meeting with Chi
Biden’s first China speech strikes a hawkish tone
In his first foreign policy address, US President Joe Biden on Thursday described China as the “most serious competitor” to the United States and vowed to confront Beijing on various fronts, including human rights, intellectual property and economic policy. Appearing at the State Department, Biden said his administration would “take on directly the challenges posed [to] our prosperity, security and democratic values by our most serious competitor: China.” “We’ll confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive, coercive actions, and push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance,” he said. “We’ll compete from a position of strength, by build
Joe Biden told Xi Jinping that America is land of ‘possibilities’
US President Joe Biden referenced a conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, when both were vice-presidents, during one of his first official acts in his new role on Wednesday. “I was asked a long time ago when I was with Xi Jinping, and I was on the Tibetan plateau with him,” Biden said as he was administering an oath of office – virtually – to nearly 1,000 of his appointees.  Xi “asked me in a private dinner, he and I, and we each had an interpreter. He said can you define America for me, and I said yes and I meant it. “I said I can do it in one word, one word: possibilities. We believe anything’s possible if we set our mind to it, unlike any other country in the world.” Bide
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-