Zhuang Pinghui

Zhuang Pinghui

Beijing Correspondent, China

Pinghui is a contributor to Inkstone. She reports on China news for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Healthcare, social trends, politics
Covid-19 blame game could scupper research, China’s top disease expert warns
The blame game between the US and China is putting important Covid-19 research at risk, according to China’s most renowned respiratory expert. Zhong Nanshan, 83 – who had a leading role in fighting the 2002-03 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic and now advises the Chinese government on Covid-19 – said scientists around the world needed to team up to establish where the new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, had come from. He said US epidemiologist Ian Lipkin, whom he had known since they worked together on the Sars outbreak, had approached him with a method to establish how the virus jumped to humans. But the work could be stalled for fear it would be distorted by political a
Chinese bat scientist says known viruses ‘just tip of the iceberg’
A Chinese virologist at the center of conspiracy theories over the coronavirus’ origin has publicly defended her work, saying it contributed to the fast identification of the new pathogen and would help protect against future outbreaks. Shi Zhengli – dubbed China’s “bat woman” for her research on coronaviruses in the mammals – told state broadcaster CGTN on Monday those studies had “enabled us to understand the cause of the unknown pneumonia a short time” after the first cases of the disease later named Covid-19 emerged late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Days after patient samples were obtained on December 30, scientists isolated the pathogen, believing it to be a new type
China’s poorest are battling to survive
Li Ming, a 36-year-old marketing manager for a car company in Beijing, is feeling the pinch for the first time in her life. When the coronavirus outbreak started, car sales slumped and she was furloughed from her job in February. To make matters worse, her husband, who works for an airline, has also had to take a 40% pay cut. “Suddenly half our household income evaporated,” Li said. “I haven’t had a decent sleep for months. We have a mortgage to pay and two children. They are a heavy burden now.” Li was able to save 12,000 yuan ($1,700) a month by firing the family’s domestic helper. “I explained and told her not to come back after the Lunar New Year holiday, which she was spending with her
Wuhan to test all 11 million residents for Covid-19
The 11 million residents of the central Chinese city of Wuhan are to be tested for Covid-19 after a cluster of new cases of the disease emerged over the weekend. The city – the outbreak’s initial epicenter – gave all of its districts until Tuesday to come up with plans to test all residents within 10 days, with residential estates and densely populated areas expected to receive special attention. The tests will cover not only people classed as residents, but also migrant workers, estimated to number in their millions. The district of Wuchang, which has a population of more than one million, is aiming to conduct the tests between May 13 and May 20, according to a government document obtained
Elderly woman survives three days after son buries her alive
A man in northwest China has been detained after his 79-year-old mother was buried alive. The woman, who was partially paralyzed, was rescued after three days and is in a stable condition in a hospital in Shaanxi province, police said. Prosecutors in Jingbian county said the woman’s son, a 58-year-old identified only by his surname Ma, had been charged with attempted murder. On Tuesday his wife told local police that Ma had taken the bedridden woman named Wang away on a cart and she had not returned home. Police said the man had confessed to burying her in the woods and she was rescued later that day. “Ma was there when police were digging up the two-meter deep grave. He didn’t say anything
China’s vaccine makers hit a hurdle: lack of patients
Medical researchers around the world are racing to find drugs and vaccines to fight Covid-19. A process that usually takes years or even decades of laboratory work and tests has been fast-tracked to months in a rush to stop a virus that has infected more than 3 million people. Nine vaccine candidates have entered human trials and more than 70 others are under preclinical studies.  China was one of the first out of the blocks, with five vaccines being developed by companies there that are undergoing clinical trials. On the pharmaceutical front, a trial in the United States of experimental antiviral drug remdesivir made by US-based Gilead Sciences showed results on Wednesday that might lead to
Can viruses escape from a super-secure laboratory?
A biosafety laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has become the center of a number of conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus. These theories, so far unsubstantiated, suggest that the virus may have somehow escaped from the lab, which is located in the same city where the pathogen was first reported. While human error can never be entirely eliminated, such accidents are extremely rare. The lab is one of the world’s most secure facilities, and those familiar with working in this environment have explained that researchers working in them are subjected to a number of strict checks and controls. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was certified as a biosafety level four
Wuhan free of Covid-19 after months-long nightmare
Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, no longer has any Covid-19 patients in the hospital after the last 12 were discharged on Sunday. Their release ended a four-month nightmare for the city, where the disease was first detected in December.  The number of patients being treated for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, peaked on February 18 at 38,020 – nearly 10,000 of whom were in severe or critical condition. “With the joint efforts of Wuhan and the national medical aid given to Hubei province, all cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan were cleared as of April 26,” Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission said on Sunday afternoon. The announcement c
China’s coronavirus lesson: don’t make people pay for tests and treatment
As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, China has one important lesson for other governments in fighting the disease – be prepared to pay so that people won’t let costs deter them from getting tests and treatment. The World Health Organization on March 11 declared the spreading virus a pandemic, which classifies the coronavirus as a “worldwide spread of a new disease.”  The coronavirus – which causes a disease called Covid-19 – has spread to more than 110 countries, with Italy, Iran and South Korea emerging as growing epicenters of the pandemic. Italy has reported about 12,500 cases of infection, overtaking South Korea (7,800 cases) as the worst-affected country outside Chi
Chinese lab ordered shut a day after publishing coronavirus genome
The Shanghai laboratory where researchers published the world’s first genome sequence of the new coronavirus has been shut down. The laboratory at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center was ordered to close for “rectification” on January 12, a day after it publicized the genetic makeup of a new virus that would go on to sicken more than 89,000 people globally. “The center was not given any specific reasons why the laboratory was closed for rectification,” a source with the center said, requesting anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity. “The closure has greatly affected the scientists and their research when they should be racing against the clock to find the means to help put the