Simone McCarthy

Simone McCarthy

Reporter

Simone is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a reporter for the South China Morning Post and she previously wrote about China tech, business and society for SupChina.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English
Areas of Expertise
China society and education, gender rights
The coronavirus has revealed an absence of global leadership
Olga Jonas worked as an economic adviser at the World Bank at a time when hundreds of staff focused on the global threats from climate change.  During the same period, as few as two people were looking at risks from disease pandemics. Jonas was one of them. She spent seven years at the bank coordinating the organization’s response to global avian and pandemic flu threats between 2006 and 2013, and it was an uphill fight to get attention, according to a report she wrote for the International Monetary Fund in 2014. “Although a recent World Bank report identified pandemics as one of the three major global risks – together with climate change and financial crises – most official discussions, re
Travel bans fly in the face of WHO recommendations
After decades of experience in dealing with global disease outbreaks as deadly as Aids and Ebola, the World Health Organization has forged a series of guidelines on how to deal with epidemics.  Most countries are now ignoring them in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. It has specifically advised against imposing travel bans on countries with Covid-19 outbreaks and warned that international restrictions can be “ineffective” during public health emergencies. Over the past week, places from Hong Kong to Europe have dramatically tightened their travel restrictions. On March 17, the European Union sealed its borders to most foreigners. More curbs are being announced daily. Experts say such act
Coronavirus ‘highly sensitive’ to high temperatures, study says
The coronavirus may have a temperature sweet spot at which it spreads fastest, a new study has suggested, but experts say people should avoid falling into the trap of thinking it will react to seasonal changes in exactly the same way as other pathogens, like those that cause the common cold or influenza. The study, by a team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the capital of south China’s Guangdong province, sought to determine how the spread of the new coronavirus might be affected by changes in season and temperature. Published last month, though yet to be peer-reviewed, the report suggested heat had a significant role to play in how the virus behaves. “Temperature could significantl
What the world can learn from China’s lockdown experience
When Chinese authorities made the decision, it went into effect immediately. In an effort to contain the coronavirus epidemic, entire cities, including Wuhan, the epicenter of the contagion, went into lockdown in the central Chinese province of Hubei in late January. Nearly 60 million people were largely confined to their cities by central government decree, with school and work canceled across the country. That effort appeared to start paying off last week as China reported fewer than 200 new cases of fresh infection each day, down from last month when there were several days with more than 3,000 new cases. On Monday, for the second day in a row, China reported no new local infections outsi
Scientists are racing to make a coronavirus vaccine. Is it worth it?
Seventeen years after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak, and seven years since the first Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) case, there is still no coronavirus vaccine despite dozens of attempts to develop them. As research institutes and companies around the world race to find potential vaccines for a new coronavirus strain that has infected more than 80,000 people and claimed over 2,700 lives, the question is, will this time be different? To stop communicable diseases, it is important to stop transmission, using medicine and developing vaccines. But those vaccines take time as they have to go through trials to ensure they are safe and effective. They are also costl
Scientists rebuff coronavirus conspiracy theories
A team of researchers has hit back at rumors that the coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year was engineered. In a paper posted on Monday on the scientific online forum Virological, the scientists – who include top epidemiologist W. Ian Lipkin from Columbia University; Edward Holmes from the University of Sydney; and Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research – said crucial genetic clues indicate that the coronavirus was not created in a laboratory. Despite scientists’ repeated efforts at debunking conspiracy theories, rumors about the still-unknown origins of the virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, have been rife. Most are based on the idea that the virus emerg
Melting sea ice is opening a new frontier in US-China rivalry
As declining sea ice threatens to disrupt the main habitat for polar bears, the United States and China see a once-in-a-lifetime opening. A decrease in Arctic summer sea ice could turn previously frozen sea lanes into “the 21s century Suez and Panama Canals,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May 2019. But the possibility of faster and cheaper shipping between Asia and Europe through the Arctic has also pitted the US against a rising China eager to expand its global influence. A year before Pompeo spoke of leveraging the Arctic in his speech in Finland, Beijing announced a policy to include the polar region in its Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious effort to build land and mariti
Why Xi Jinping wants everyone to know he ate on the train
Chinese President Xi Jinping is the kind of president who does not mind eating his dinner on the train and who shuns luxurious accommodation, according to the latest state media reports designed to portray him as a thrifty and frugal leader. The report by state news agency Xinhua published on Monday depicted him as a man who would spend his birthday working and personally intervened to ensure that meals in honor were not too extravagant. The report was also intended to reinforce the message to officials that staying down to earth was “no trivial matter” but was key to fulfilling the party’s “original mission” in what one analyst described as a Mao Zedong-style effort to show he was on the si
US considers new human rights bill for Tibet
Washington has angered Beijing in recent months with a flurry of legislation targeting China’s treatment of human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Tibet is now joining the list. The US House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee on Wednesday approved a bill calling for stronger US support for religious and human rights in Tibet, a step along the way to it becoming law. Known as the Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2019, the bill is expected to go to the House for a full vote, although a date has not been set. US lawmakers have introduced legislation in recent months to allow for sanctions on individuals involved in the mass detention of at least a million members of Muslim minoritie
China hopes to attract foreign workers to its booming East
Foreign workers in China have long complained about the bureaucracy and paperwork involved in getting a working visa, but that may be about to change after the authorities unveiled plans to streamline the application process. A policy document released on Sunday outlined plans for a series of pilot programs to reduce the red tape as part of a project to boost the Yangtze River Delta region, which includes major commercial cities such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. The plans, rubber-stamped by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council, aims to streamline work permit applications, permanent residency and employment for overseas workers. The plan aims to attract mo