Sarah Zheng

Sarah Zheng

Reporter, China

Sarah is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a China reporter covering diplomacy and society news at the South China Morning Post.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
China-US relations, international relations of East Asia, Asian security issues
China’s closure of US consulate in Chengdu ‘lost 35 years of exchanges’
Tzu-i Chuang, the wife of the US consul general in Chengdu, said 35 years of exchanges between Beijing and Washington had been consigned to history following China’s closure of the American consulate in the southwestern city. The Taiwanese food writer, who is married to Jim Mullinax, the US consul general in Chengdu, wrote a Facebook post describing her sadness at the closure, which was in retaliation for the US ordering the shuttering of the Chinese consulate in Houston over alleged espionage activities. Chuang – who posts regularly to more than 605,000 followers on Weibo and nearly 70,000 on Facebook – described the impact on the mission’s 100-plus local staff, and on the 23 US diplomats a
Why China pulls its punches when dealing with Washington
Beijing is trying to walk a fine line with Washington as it seeks to present a hardline stance to its domestic audience without causing irrevocable damage to the relationship. Analysts say that despite the so-called Wolf Warrior attitude of Chinese diplomats, official rhetoric and nationalistic online sentiment, Beijing has stopped short of overly provocative steps and has been unwilling or unable to retaliate with equal force to American diplomatic volleys. Tensions flared last week when the US ordered China’s consulate in Houston to close within 72 hours over alleged espionage activities. Beijing reacted by closing the American consulate in Chengdu, rather than shuttering a high-profile of
Global reach of Hong Kong security law ‘extraordinary and chilling’
The national security law that Beijing has imposed on Hong Kong has raised concerns among legal experts that it could apply everywhere. The controversial legislation came into force late on the night of June 30, after it was unanimously passed by Beijing’s top legislative body and signed into law by President Xi Jinping. The law prohibits secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, with a maximum penalty of life in prison. Legal experts said Article 38 of the law, which covers even offenses by people outside the city who are not Hong Kong residents, creates a “chilling” overreach.  They said the coverage goes furth
Xi personally asked Trump to lift Huawei sanctions, Bolton claims
Chinese President Xi Jinping made a personal appeal to Donald Trump to remove sanctions on Chinese technology firms, according to a tell-all memoir by former American national security adviser John Bolton. In his book The Room Where It Happened, Bolton said Xi discussed the companies, ZTE and Huawei Technologies, in phone calls in May 2018 and June 2019, saying he would be indebted to the US President if the sanctions were eased. In talks on trade and Taiwan at the Group of 20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka in 2019, Xi lectured Trump on the humiliation that China experienced as a result of the Treaty of Versailles a century earlier, according to the book.  The treaty drafted in Paris
Here’s what Trump told China’s president behind closed doors, according to John Bolton
Over a dinner of grilled sirloin steak in Buenos Aires, Chinese President Xi Jinping, reading from his notes, was full of praise for his American counterpart, President Donald Trump. The US leader improvised his response, but nodded when Xi suggested the US had too many elections. It was a chummy scene at the banqueting table as the leaders of the world’s two largest economies sat down for trade negotiations on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in December 2018, according to a new account by former US national security adviser John Bolton, who was ousted from the Trump administration late last year. “At dinner, Xi began by telling Trump how wonderful he was, laying it on thick,” B
US and China are talking again, but no consensus at diplomats’ meeting
China and the United States held diplomatic talks in Hawaii on Wednesday that exposed their divisions over a range of issues, even if there were some positive noises made in Beijing. No consensus was reached between China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but the two had dinner and spoke for seven hours, showing a willingness to at least prevent a further deterioration in relations, observers said. The meeting came with relations between the world’s two largest economies at their lowest point in decades and the two governments facing off on multiple fronts including technology, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea – despite signing an interim trade deal i
Pompeo points finger directly at Wuhan lab for coronavirus
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday there was “enormous evidence” that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory. While he offered no proof, Pompeo’s remarks were the Trump administration’s most direct accusation to date that a research facility in the Chinese city of Wuhan was responsible for the pandemic. US intelligence agencies have so far reached no conclusions on the origin of the virus. The virus first emerged in Wuhan. Scientists believe it likely spread to humans from animals, perhaps bats. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said on Thursday that the US intelligence community agreed with the “scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not m
The US and China are battling for influence. Who’s winning?
In 2018, President Xi Jinping said China would “take an active part in leading the reform of the global governance system” as part of an effort to build “a community with a shared future for humanity.” That message was vague enough to attract little attention, until the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, bringing upheaval and uncertainty, along with the potential to redraw the map of global power and influence.  The question then became: what would China’s role in global governance reform look like? The organization at the forefront of this debate has been the World Health Organization, which is on the front line in coordinating the fight against Covid-19. Critics – President Donald Trump prominent
Covid-19 and the Wuhan lab: What we know so far
Facing criticism for its late response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration said it is seeking to investigate claims that a Chinese laboratory leaked the pathogen and caused the global crisis. The lab has been the source of speculation, conspiracy theories and debate since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But why has it received so much attention?  What is the Wuhan lab? The research facility under scrutiny is the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It is China’s first laboratory with BSL-4 status – the highest international designation for bioresearch safety – designed for work with the deadly and easily transmittable class of pathogens known as P4.  The institute is ad
No, children are not safe from the coronavirus
Pediatric services in the US could be overwhelmed by thousands of sick infants and young children – an overlooked group that has a higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19, according to a new study. While children are at a lower risk of fatality from the disease as compared with the elderly, the very young were most at risk of becoming seriously ill, the study said.  It warned the sheer weight of population numbers in the United States meant there was an urgent need to be prepared. The research was led by Elizabeth Pathak, a population health scientist and president of the US think tank Women’s Institute for Independent Social Inquiry, who warned against a sense of complacency about the