William Zheng

William Zheng

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.

Language spoken
English, Mandarin
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
Chinese journalists to be tested on loyalty to Xi Jinping
Thousands of reporters and editors working in Chinese state media across the country will have to take an exam to test their loyalty to President Xi Jinping. Some will be asked to take part in “pilot tests” in early October, before the exams are held nationwide, according to a notice late last month from the media oversight office of the Communist Party’s propaganda department.  It did not say when the nationwide exams would be held. About 10,000 reporters and editors from 14 state-run online media outlets in Beijing are expected to sit the pilot tests using the Xuexi Qiangguo mobile app, a media source who requested anonymity said on Wednesday. Often compared to Chairman Mao’s quotation col
What Hong Kong protests look like from mainland China (Hint: not pretty)
Anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which started out as demonstrations against a now-suspended extradition bill, have been taking place for two months. The news has dominated headlines in the city, a semi-autonomous part of China, and around the world for weeks. But how have the demonstrations been covered in mainland China itself? This week, the country’s most-watched daily TV news program has aired a series of damning reports about protesters in Hong Kong and blamed “external forces” for helping to disrupt order in the city. State broadcaster CCTV’s prime-time evening news program Xinwen Lianbo began the run on Saturday with a report promoting the “Protect Hong Kong” rally organized by
Dozens dead after explosion near Chinese chemical plant
At least 23 people have been killed and 22 more injured in an explosion near a chemical factory in northern China. The blast occurred in the industrial city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei province just after midnight on Wednesday, according to authorities. The fire has been contained, and search and rescue operations are ongoing. Industrial accidents have been prevalent in China during the past four decades of unbridled economic development. Although the Chinese government has pledged to step up enforcing safety rules, deadly accidents still occur at mines, factories and construction sites, sparking public anger.   Zhangjiakou, about 100 miles northwest of Beijing, is one of the cities that will ho