William Zheng

William Zheng

News Editor, China

William is a contributor to Inkstone. He is a veteran journalist who has served and led major Hong Kong and Singapore media organizations in his 20-year career, covering greater China. He is now deput

y China Editor of the South China Morning Post.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
Politics and policies in mainland China and its repercussions to the rest of Greater China
Beijing vows to build ‘fully modern army’ by 2027 as key meeting ends on defiant note
A key Communist Party policy meeting concluded on Thursday with a statement that China would not let external pressures sway it from becoming a great power. It also set a new goal to turn the People‘s Liberation Army (PLA) into a modern military force by 2027, by which time, analysts say, China aims to build an army on par with that of the US. The four-day plenum at Beijing’s Jingxi Hotel concluded with a televised ceremony at which the 360-plus attendees did not wear masks – a sign of confidence that the country has tamed Covid-19. The communique issued after the ceremony said China must seize the opportunity presented by the current global upheaval to be in the front row of great powers. 
Beijing wants to turn the ‘Chinese Hawaii’ into a trade hub to rival Hong Kong
China has unveiled plans to turn its southern island of Hainan into the mainland’s answer to Hong Kong or Singapore, as it tries to dampen the risk of decoupling with the United States. Beijing on Monday outlined a package of special policies to make the tropical island a free-trade port by lowering the income tax rate for selected individuals and companies, scrapping import duties and relaxing visa requirements for tourists and business travelers. The island province of 9.5 million people will also enjoy freedoms in terms of trade, investment and the movement of people and data, according to the plans. The project to create a regional trade, shopping and shipping center in Hainan – which at
‘Like a prison drama’: Taming an epidemic the China way
Life under strict lockdown in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the first cases of the coronavirus were reported, was a reminder of the past for its elderly residents. One of them, 75-year-old Jiang Hong, said the past three months had been just like life in the Mao Zedong era. “It’s déjà vu really – a throwback to the 1960s when we lived in the people’s communes and everything was taken care of but you didn’t have much choice,” the retiree said. But in 2020, she said officials used smartphones instead of loudhailers to get their message across. And people no longer relied on the food coupons widely used in China in the ’60s to buy essentials. Like many elderly residents, Jiang had to l
A Chinese tycoon criticized China’s coronavirus response. He is now under investigation
Ren Zhiqiang, the former Chinese property tycoon and outspoken critic of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, is under investigation for alleged “serious violations of law and discipline,” the Communist Party’s disciplinary watchdog announced. In a short statement released on Tuesday, the Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing said that Ren was under investigation. Ren is a member of China’s ruling Communist Party and a former top executive of state-controlled property developer Huayuan Real Estate Group.  Friends say that they have lost contact with Ren, 69, since March 12 after an article he wrote criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus o
Beijing purges top officials at coronavirus epicenter amid public anger
The Chinese leadership has purged the top officials in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, in a response to the public anger over what is seen as a botched response to the epidemic.  Hubei’s Communist Party chief Jiang Chaoliang was replaced by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday. Ying, 61, is a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping.  The Communist Party leader of Wuhan, 56-year-old Ma Guoqiang, also lost his job, Xinhua said. He will be replaced by Wang Zhonglin, the party secretary of Shandong’s provincial capital Jinan in eastern China.  Jiang, 61, is the highest-ranking official purged so far in the ou
Hundreds of Chinese medical staff infected with coronavirus
At least 500 hospital staff in Wuhan, the epicenter of a coronavirus outbreak, had been infected with the deadly new strain of coronavirus as early as mid-January, multiple medical sources have confirmed. The large number of doctors and nurses infected by the virus has reflected the dire situation in Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have originated. Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the growing number of patients.  The Chinese government has yet to disclose the number of infected medical professionals, although it has reported individual cases of doctors or nurses becoming sick.  The sources said doctors and nurses had been told not to make the information public.  The reason for th
Chinese city reports 6,000 coronavirus cases. It may be ‘tip of the iceberg’
The official number of coronavirus cases in China might not reflect the true scale of the crisis, as many patients at the center of the outbreak may not be able to get diagnosed, medical experts said. Wuhan – the city of 11 million people where the deadly virus outbreak began in December – has so far reported more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like illness, or about one-third of the total number across mainland China. But the real number could be much higher given a shortage of coronavirus testing kits, medical experts say. Cases are only classified as confirmed once a patient has twice tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus.  Frontline doctors in Wuhan said that the
New coronavirus has infected more people in China than Sars did
The number of confirmed cases of the rapidly spreading coronavirus infection in mainland China has reached 5,974, health authorities said on Wednesday – a total surpassing the cases that the mainland had in the 2002-03 Sars epidemic that eventually killed almost 800 people worldwide. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) infected 5,327 people in mainland China in nine months and killed 349 people there, according to the World Health Organization. Separately, 299 people died in Hong Kong from the disease. The deaths from the new coronavirus infection have risen to 132, health authorities said on Wednesday. They have all been reported in mainland China, with 125 in Hubei, a landlocked provi
China hustles to build coronavirus hospital – in 6 days
The central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a deadly coronavirus outbreak, is rushing to build a makeshift hospital on its outskirts as a quarantine and treatment center for affected patients, in a move that replicates a decision regarded as instrumental in Beijing’s fight 17 years ago against severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). Hundreds of workers have been mobilized to complete the hospital – essentially a quarantine center, with capacity for about 1,000 patients – within six days as the disease spread rapidly across the country. As of Friday, China had reported 875 confirmed cases of infection and 26 fatalities. In addition, the US, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand,
Here’s why Beijing’s new Hong Kong envoy was a surprise choice
Bringing a political veteran with no relevant experience out of semi-retirement and making him the top envoy to Hong Kong shows Beijing’s determination to reset its policy on the city, according to insiders and observers. Luo Huining’s appointment as the new director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong came as a surprise even to Communist Party insiders. But while he is seen as capable, he was an unlikely candidate for the job. Having turned 65 in October, Luo was supposed to be easing into semi-retirement. Under party rules, senior officials of Luo’s rank are relieved from key positions at the age of 65.  They are then transferred to less demanding roles – usually in Chi