Qin Chen

Qin Chen

Reporter, Inkstone

Qin is a reporter at Inkstone. Previously, she worked in newsrooms across the United States for five years. She was a senior video producer at The New Yorker, a documentary producer at CNBC, and a des

igner at the San Jose Mercury News.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Shanghai dialect
Areas of Expertise
Chinese society
Trump has put spotlight on pardons. How does it work in China? 
In his final weeks in office, US President Donald Trump has issued a wave of controversial pardons to family members, close allies and Blackwater guards who killed Iraqi civilians.  United Nations experts said the pardon of four Blackwater contractors violated international laws that obligate countries to hold their war criminals accountable for their crimes.  But controversial presidential pardons are hardly unique for outgoing presidents. US President Bill Clinton pardoned 176 people on his final day in office in 2001, including his brother. He received harsh blowback for the decision.  President George W. Bush appears to have learned from Clinton’s experience and issued a limited number o
Menstrual cycle leave may make it harder for women to find work
A Chinese province will obligate companies to provide women with menstrual sick leave days starting in March, 2021.  The announcement from the provincial government of Liaoning, a province in northeastern China, renewed worries that such “protective policies” will actually worsen gender discrimination in the workplace.  The rules stipulate that companies must provide their employees with one or two days of sick leave for women on their menstrual cycle, provided they have medical proof of experiencing severe period pains.   “My first reaction was that this would make it more difficult for women to find work,” said Wei Yiran, 26, a Guangdong-based volunteer teacher who educates young women in
Court’s punishment of 9-year-old girl highlights concern with China’s expansive social credit system
A 9-year-old schoolgirl in China found herself caught up in the country’s burgeoning national social credit system, prompting concerns that the scheme’s wide net may unwittingly capture the wrong people.  In November, the girl, named Chen Man, was banned by a local court in Henan from doing “high-level consumption” activities, which include flying, travel by high-speed rail and checking into hotels - not typical activities for a kid. The girl appears to have been caught up in China’s social credit system, in which punitive measures were used to force the debtor to pay up. The system has been criticized as a tool for authorities to monitor citizens.  Chen was punished because she was sued by
This Chinese town is selling a 20-year property lease for US$1,000
A rural town in northeast China has a unique strategy to jumpstart its economy: offer ridiculously low rent to city elites who crave a country getaway.  The Dashuibo local government hopes it can attract talent and money to the area by incentivizing city dwellers to become part-time residents and help raise the economic tide to lift all people.  The rental deals to kickstart this plan are absurdly cheap. For about US$1,000, a person can rent a farmhouse with a backyard for 20 years in the town of about 35,000 residents located in the eastern province of Shandong.  However, the deal does come with some commitments from the prospective tenant. They must spend at least US$30,000 to renovate the
The three young women behind China's Chang'e 5 lunar mission
Three days after China successfully launched the Chang’e 5 spacecraft to the moon, three women who were instrumental in its landing have been catapulted into the limelight. The Chinese state broadcaster praised the trio’s efforts, a cultural moment similar to the 2016 American film Hidden Figures. The film celebrated three trailblazing African American women mathematicians and engineers working for The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the 1960s.    In this Chinese real-life version of Hidden Figures, one of the women, Zhou Chengyu, a 24-year-old commander of the rocket connector system in the moon exploration program, quickly became a trending topic on China’s Twitter-
Sexual illiteracy is creating an HIV crisis in China
Poor sexual literacy in China has contributed to a rapid growth in the number of people who have contracted HIV over the past decade, even as the disease continues to abate worldwide.  The Chinese National Health Commission reported that 131,000 people contracted the disease in 2019. In 2007 the number of new cases was just under 33,000. In 2018, the Commission said it estimated new HIV patients are growing at a rate of about 80,000 people per year, although that data does not distinguish between people who just contracted the virus or those who may have had it for awhile without knowing. By comparison, the US reported just under 38,000 new cases in 2018. In 2019, the global number of people
Chinese internet rages against ‘actress’ who criticized Covid-19 health leader
The Chinese internet exploded over the weekend after a post criticizing Zhong Nanshan, China’s equivalent to Anthony Fauci, touched a nerve in the country. The post, published by a person named Shen Jiaxin, who claims to be an actress, asked Dr Zhong, “Dr. Zhong, apart from appearing on camera all the time, what research have you conducted? What effective drugs have you invented? How many Covid patients have you cured?” “What kind of contribution have you made to the pandemic?” Zhong, who does not work for the government but is a member of the communist party, has become the public face of China’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. He has an outsized celebrity compared to other public h
The Chinese internet is roasting a tai chi ‘master’. It may be a good thing
In an attempt to defend the honor of one of China’s great martial arts, a tai chi master named Ma Baoguo became a laughing stock in China in May only to make matters worse this month during a flirtation with retirement. The 68-year-old Ma has long boasted of superb martial art skills and formidable inner strength. He told a journalist in 2017, “I can defeat opponents much bigger and heavier than me with just one finger.”  That does not appear to have been an accurate statement.  An amateur kickboxing trainer 18 years younger than Ma was selected to fight him in May. The two fought in a match broadcasted online from the eastern province of Shandong. The match followed free-form rules, which m
Famed pianist Liu Shikun has a new daughter. He’s 81 years old 
A famed Chinese pianist has caused jaws to drop across China, and it’s not for anything he did in the concert hall.  On November 7, Liu Shikun and his 45-year-old wife welcomed a newborn daughter and named her Bei Bei, meaning precious baby in Chinese. Liu is now 81 years old, and this fact, along with the large age gap between him and his wife, has sparked a conversation in China about love and relationships.  “She is our best gift received,” said the mother, Sun Ying (or Samantha Suen), in Chinese news reports. Sun is also a performing pianist and added that she hopes the daughter will carry on the musical heritage.  But Liu’s older age had many worried about an added risk of genetic dise
The ‘markets’ where Chinese parents peddle love for their adult children
Every weekend, hundreds of parents across major Chinese cities head to public parks to take part in loosely organized speed dating. But they aren’t trying to find love for themselves; they are there on behalf of their adult children.  These “marriage markets” have been a curious phenomenon in China for about 20 years. Chinese parents often go to them for their children, usually without getting their consent, believing they are helping the family.  But these markets also illustrate a spiritual clash between the country’s young and old. Parents’ traditional beliefs about romance are at odds with those of a younger generation who grew up with values acquired while watching the country grow into