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
Fumbled rollout puts scrutiny on Chinese coronavirus vaccine
A Chinese coronavirus vaccine has been found to have a lower efficacy rate than previously publicized, and now regulators around the world are expected to closely scrutinize the vaccine before approving it for their countries. The 50% efficacy rate is lower than the 78% number that was released by Brazil’s Butantan Institute on January 7, 2021. A series of confusing releases prompted calls from the scientific community for transparency in releasing coronavirus vaccine data. On Wednesday, Sinovac Biotech chairman Yin Weidong insisted that the data showed the vaccine, called CoronaVac, was safe and effective. He pointed out that the Brazilian study included people with “very mild symptoms” an
Chinese vaccine maker hopes to vaccinate children
A Chinese  Covid-19 vaccine developer whose product has been approved for general use on adults seeks to expand its use to children as young as three years old. The company, China National Biotec Group (CNBG), is testing how well the vaccine could induce an immune response among minors, according to a radio appearance from Zhang Yuntao, vice-president of the company. The vaccine was approved last month to be used on adults under the age of 60 after an interim analysis found it offered 79% efficacy in its phase 3 trial, conducted on the same age group.  It has also been approved for emergency or general use in several other countries, including Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Vac
Eye doctor calls stabbing ‘pleasant surprise’
A respected doctor in China called a brutal knife attack that robbed him of his surgical career “a pleasant surprise” because it forced him to reassess his life. Tao Yong, an ophthalmologist, spoke one year after a patient, Cui Zhenguo, stabbed him in the head and arm with a vegetable knife at Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital, where he is head of ophthalmology. Tao sustained injuries on the back of his head and the neck and stayed in ICU for two weeks. The doctor required surgery to save his hand, and the stabbing was so precise that he is unlikely ever to perform eye surgery again. Two other members of staff were wounded as they tried to stop the attack. “To summarize last year, I can think of
Want to tour Beijing? Airbnb may not be a feasible option 
The Chinese capital has dealt a significant blow to Airbnb in the city by banning short-term stays in the city’s heart, saying they could create a security problem.  The ban affects the Dongcheng district, which includes famous tourist attractions like Tiananmen Square, Zhongshan Park and the Forbidden City. It also applies to the Xicheng district, a popular area for dining. A ban on short-term stays essentially kills the Airbnb business model in the areas.  Beijing said criminal networks and terrorists could use short-term stays at Airbnbs, and the ban aims at improving security in the “core central administrative zone” that is home to China’s top officials. The ban is set to come into effe
Daughter helps mother reunite with parents 19 years after abduction
A daughter’s devotion and a dedicated group of internet volunteers have solved a decades-old mystery that shattered one family and haunted another. The daughter, Li Yantao, grew up wondering why her mother looked so different from everyone else in her village. She also spoke a language that nobody could understand. When she was 11 years old, Li found out the truth – her mother had been abducted and sold to her father as a bride five years before Li was born. Determined to help her mother return to her childhood home, Li started a 19-year journey of discovery. Now 30, that dream has come true, thanks to a group of keen internet users. Li learned her mother is 59 years old, of the Buyei ethni
‘We feel lucky to have survived’: How one family found itself in the middle of a Covid storm
Early 2020 should have been a happy time for Wuhan accountant Cheng Pan, whose second child – a son– was due to be born in just ten days. Instead, Cheng was plunged into the chaos and devastation of a mystery virus that not only threatened the lives of three generations of his family but would later become known as the Covid-19, killing thousands of Wuhan residents before sweeping across countries in the world’s largest modern public health crisis. Frantically searching for hospital beds and medication for his pregnant wife Zhou Xiaomeng – an early victim of Covid-19 – Cheng, found himself also managing his father’s illness, spending weeks traveling from hospital to hospital in a fruitless s
Flammable tap water sparks government action
Despite years of complaining about contaminated water, residents in a township in northern Liaoning province finally got the problem fixed after a video of a man lighting his tap water on fire went viral.  The video clip, provided to news portal Thecover.cn, showed the water coming out of a faucet ignited into a significant flame after a resident sparked a lighter next to the running water.  Residents in the township had complained for years about their inflammable tap water, but in vain. It took two days to fix the problem after the video showing flammable tap water went viral. A woman told the outlet that they had suspected the water had been mixed with oil because their hands would be l
Two vaccines look promising, here is what you need to know
Two pharmaceutical giants appear on the verge of deploying promising weapons in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  On Monday, Moderna announced that its experimental vaccine was 95% effective.  On Wednesday, a joint project between Pfizer and BioNTech also said their vaccine was 95% effective after conducting final efficacy analyses. Last week the project had said initial results put the number at 91%. On Thursday, the CEO of Pfizer said the company hoped to file for emergency-use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration on November 20.  But even if they are approved, it will still be months before they are available to the public in the US and other parts of the wor
US experts hope for a reset on coronavirus containment under Biden
When Joe Biden is inaugurated as United States president on January 20 he will inherit the legacies of Donald Trump and one of the worst will be a pandemic that is out of control during the depth of winter. Public health experts who had pinned their hopes on a Biden presidency could barely celebrate because the skyrocketing number of Covid-19 cases heralded daunting challenges ahead. The two-month wait before he takes power also means the country will not immediately get a long-overdue organized federal response to the pandemic. Experts have already seen coronavirus surging at an unprecedented rate, passing the bleak milestone of 10 million cases with the last million accumulating in just 10
Blackpink finds themselves in panda diplomacy storm
The superstar K-pop group Blackpink has found itself in hot water in China. But it has nothing to do with politics; it’s all about pandas. The girl group posted a video of them touching the panda bears without wearing a mask or gloves. The China Wildlife Conservation Association, the country’s semi-official wildlife conservation association, issued a statement demanding the zoo stop such commercial activities and not air the video. In China, the video drew fierce criticism online as people complained that the group had put the bear at risk of disease. Panda keepers and feeders are prohibited from wearing jewelry and makeup when touching the animals. In the clip, Blackpink member Jennie was