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
Chinese firm tested Covid-19 vaccine on its execs to ‘lead by example’
A senior figure at a Chinese pharmaceutical company that tested Covid-19 vaccines on its own executives before formal human trials took place has defended the decision, saying they were “leading by example.” The unrelenting pandemic and its economic toll have seen companies and governments race to develop vaccines without following longstanding practices, raising difficult questions about safety and ethics. China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which has two experimental vaccines in the final stage of human trials, has been under fire for trying them on 180 executives in the group and its mother company Sinopharm in March, days before the vaccines were approved for human trial. The volunteers
China is close to ending absolute poverty. Now for the really hard part
Jifu Jifuzi was living in an isolated village on a mountain cliff in southwestern China just as other members of the Yi ethnic minority had done for generations. The remote location in Sichuan province originally helped the community to avoid conflicts but ultimately it meant they were left behind as China modernized. The family – Jifu, his wife and three adult children – were living in a mud house with a fire in the center of the room and their chickens and pigs next to their home. When it rained, the roof leaked and mountain roads were too muddy to go anywhere. But things started to improve rapidly in 2018, after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture –
When coronavirus vaccines are ready, who will get them first?
Several coronavirus vaccine candidates have reached the final phase of human trials and others are not far behind, but who will benefit from them once they are ready for general distribution remains to be seen. The World Health Organisation and political leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping have called for Covid-19 vaccines to be treated as a global public good. But in reality, many countries are striking deals with pharmaceutical firms to make sure they are the first to benefit. One of the vaccines near the head of the pack, developed by researchers at the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca, could
Chinese firms are taking human trials of Covid-19 vaccines overseas
A Chinese developer has been authorized to start large-scale human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates. China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a state-owned company, said the clinical trials were approved by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention during a teleconference on Tuesday. Chinese vaccine developers are looking overseas for the “phase three” trials, which involve thousands of people, because there were not currently enough cases of Covid-19 in the country to be considered suitable for testing. Two other Chinese developers, CanSino and Sinovac Biotech, have previously announced they will start phase three trials elsewhere – in Canada and Brazil respec
Lockdowns return to Beijing after coronavirus outbreak at food market
Beijing has imposed “wartime management” on one of its districts and locked down more than 20 housing estates after a new coronavirus outbreak at the city’s biggest vegetable market. There were 36 new reported cases on Sunday, taking the number in the capital’s fresh outbreak to 79 – all of them linked to the Xinfadi wholesale market, a huge food distribution center in southern Beijing that supplies food to northern provinces. Some of the cases were found in a second market, Yuquandong, but had links to Xinfadi. In Fengtai district, where Xinfadi market is located, 11 residential compounds had been locked down and were under guard, and a command center had been set up to oversee “wartime” re
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