China Desk, Lianhe Zaobao

China Desk, Lianhe Zaobao

Lianhe Zaobao is a Chinese-language broadsheet published by Singapore Press Holdings. It was established in 1983, following the merger of Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Jit Poh, which were started in 1923 and 1929 respectively. It offers timely, credible news reports and a wealth of features, commentaries and opinion pieces. With a Singapore perspective, it also provides news and valuable insights on developments in East Asia, particularly China. In 1995, Lianhe Zaobao became the first Chinese-language newspaper in the world to go online with its portal zaobao.sg. The website has now grown into two sites — zaobao.com to cater to its readers in the greater China region, and zaobao.sg for readers in Singapore and elsewhere.

The paper has correspondents in Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo, and experienced stringers in the Philippines, Japan, Europe and the US. It is one of the few foreign-owned Chinese-language media that is accessible online in China. Zaobao.com has an average of 5 million unique visitors per month, and a monthly pageview count of 100 million in China. The print edition of Lianhe Zaobao is also circulated in Indonesia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Vietnam and major cities of China like Beijing and Shanghai.

Police are seen outside the Stand News office building, in Hong Kong, China, 29 December 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Stand News closure and the vanishing voice of HK’s pan-democrats

With the latest closure of pro-democracy media Stand News and the demise of Apple Daily, analysts see diminishing avenues for free expression in Hong Kong. The intense clampdown on media outlets in the territory in recent months has led to widespread concerns over a total demise of the free press in Hong Kong. Zaobao’s China Desk looks into the issue.
SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks on a screen during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, 29 June 2021. (Nacho Doce/File Photo/Reuters)

Elon Musk and the new China-US space race

A Chinese space station’s near-collision with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites has Chinese internet pundits wondering if this is another ploy by the US to contain China’s space progress and steal China’s space technologies. Is a new China-US space race in the offing? Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
Chinese brand Three Squirrels came under fire for featuring "slit eyes" in a series of advertisements. (Internet)

Are ‘slit eyes’ an insult to China?

Recent advertisements in China featuring slit-eyed models have been criticised by netizens for “insulting” or “uglifying” the Chinese. But are Chinese people “unworthy” to be Chinese because they fit into so-called Western stereotypes of what Chinese people look like? Are detractors not buying into the very ideas that they want to reject, that Chinese people who look a certain way are “ugly”? Zaobao's China Desk examines the issue.
A gay pride parade in Taiwan, 2018. (Wikimedia)

Taiwan allowing cross-strait same-sex unions: A bargaining chip in the reunification tussle?

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has announced proposed amendments to the “Cross-Strait Act” to allow same-sex unions between partners from Taiwan and mainland China. Is this a bid by Taiwan to woo the gay community in mainland China ahead of reunification, as some netizens speculate? And will mainland China adopt an even more conservative position given that room to discuss LGBT issues has shrunk amid recent clampdowns? Zaobao’s China Desk delves into the topic.
People leave a Canada Goose store in Beijing, China, 2 December 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Unfair treatment of Chinese consumers? Canadian luxury winter apparel brand draws flak in China

Canada Goose, a Canadian luxury winter apparel brand that has been in the Chinese market for three years, drew bad press recently for having no or an ambiguous returns policy. Sensitive netizens wondered whether this meant the brand was discriminating against Chinese customers as they do have a returns policy in other locations. Despite the hoo-ha, sales of Canada Goose apparel as the weather turns wintry has still been brisk. A case of pragmatism overriding nationalistic grouses?
Macau gambling junket tycoon Alvin Chau. (Internet/SPH)

Macau's 'junket mogul' and his unnerving name list of Chinese gamblers

Macau's police have arrested Alvin Chau, the chairman of the city's biggest casino junket operator, on allegations of illegally operating casinos and money laundering. Given that there are 80,000 customers of Chau’s network within mainland China, the bigger implication is that this group might include civil servants and employees of state-owned enterprises, who might end up being traced, given China’s crackdown on vice activities.
CCTV cameras are seen above Democracy Wall at Hong Kong University, in Hong Kong, China, 19 October 2021. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Resignation of university presidents in Hong Kong: Can politics and education be kept separate?

Two presidents of prominent universities in Hong Kong have tendered their resignations in quick succession. Were these simply out of personal reasons or had they more to do with their stance on political issues in Hong Kong? If this trend continues, will we see more candidates with mainland Chinese backgrounds taking the helm at top Hong Kong universities? Zaobao’s China Desk finds out.
(Left to right) Premier Su Tseng-chang, Parliament Speaker You Si-kun and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu have been named by the Taiwan Affairs Office as being “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence”. (Internet/SPH)

Are Taiwan's DPP politicians fighting to be blacklisted by Beijing?

In Beijing’s latest effort to discourage notions of independence for Taiwan, it has released a list of Taiwan leaders it considers to be “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence”, seemingly targeted at Green camp members. However, those on the list are wearing it as a badge of honour, as recognition that they love Taiwan, while those not on the list are clamouring to be blacklisted. Will this move backfire on Beijing instead?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of a Tesla Model 3 vehicle during an opening ceremony for Tesla's China-made Model Y programme in Shanghai, China, 7 January 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/File Photo/Reuters)

Elon Musk’s indissoluble bond with China

On 2 November, Tesla founder Elon Musk cryptically posted on social media an old Chinese poem, sparking discussion on what the poem meant — and what Musk meant. The controversial Musk, who has been quoted making comments supportive of China, has nevertheless faced challenges in bringing Tesla to China, including recent incidents of complaints against Tesla’s brake systems allegedly malfunctioning. However, efforts to handle such negative publicity seem to be working, as Tesla continues to grow strongly in China.