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.

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.
Jack Ma, founder of China's Alibaba Group, speaks in front of a picture of SoftBank's human-like robot named 'pepper' during a news conference in Chiba, Japan, 18 June 2015. (Yuya Shino/Reuters)

Jack Ma an agriculture tsar?

Alibaba founder Jack Ma seems set to add “agricultural tycoon” to his list of titles, going by his latest moves to break into the agriculture industry. And he is not the only tech giant in town attempting to use big data and technology to increase agricultural yields. For China, this is a good move that would add to its food security, a priority laid out in its 14th Five-Year Plan. Zaobao’s China Desk looks at Chinese agriculture’s investment potential.
People look at publicity posters of The Battle at Lake Changjin at a cinema in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, on 7 October 2021. (CNS)

Can the Chinese criticise their patriotic movies?

The movie The Battle at Lake Changjin has broken all sorts of box office records in China. This patriotic drama portrays Chinese volunteer troops fighting in the Korean War against the US, and is highly rated by the authorities and the public. However, certain comments have been criticised for being disrespectful to the people and times in the movie, and the police have detained Chinese financial media personality Luo Changping for his allegedly disparaging comments against the country's volunteer fighters. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
People check their phones near a Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics-themed floral installation set up ahead of the Chinese National Day, in Beijing, China, 30 September 2021. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

China has a zero-Covid policy. Can it pull off a spectacular Winter Olympics?

With China's zero-Covid policy, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be one of those first events where China opens its doors amid the pandemic to a large number of foreign visitors. Beijing seems to have prepared itself, with recent announcements of explicit vaccination rules and a closed-loop management system to keep all involved in a supervised bubble. While the Covid-19 regulations for the Beijing Winter Olympics look set to be stricter than those for the Tokyo Olympics, domestic spectators will be allowed at the Beijing Games, unlike the Tokyo Games which limited the attendance of domestic spectators or totally banned them in certain venues. Can Beijing pull off a spectacular Winter Olympics despite heightening global tensions and the pandemic?
Eric Chu, Taiwan’s newly-elected main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) chairman, gestures on the podium following his election victory for the party's leadership at the KMT headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, on 25 September 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

A mountain to climb: New KMT leader Eric Chu and his hope for peaceful cross-strait relations

Although a new Kuomintang (KMT) chairman, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu, has been installed, the KMT’s stance on cross-strait relations and its aspirations for Taiwan’s future is hazy to many. While Chu pledged commitment to the 1992 Consensus and non-support of Taiwan independence, he did not give a clear response to the mainland’s call for “reunification”. Pledging to stick to the “status quo” would be a no-go either, given the ambiguous term. How then should the KMT position itself on the path to the 2024 presidential elections?
People pose for photos in front of a statue of American actress Marilyn Monroe Universal Studios Beijing, China, 21 September 2021. (CNS)

Universal Studios Beijing: With 5,000 years of culture, can China create its own theme park?

Universal Studios Beijing opened to much publicity, with tickets being snapped up in just one minute. But some detractors question if this is exactly the sort of imperialism that China has grown out of and it should be developing its own mega attractions with Chinese elements. Would doing so simply entail rejecting Western influences? How can it develop a concept that truly reflects a flavour of China or its popular culture?
Mainland China has halted imports of sugar apples and wax apples from Taiwan due to checks that revealed pests on the fruits. (CNS)

Beijing bans Taiwan fruit imports: Impoverishing Taiwan to achieve reunification?

Following a block of pineapple imports from Taiwan in February, mainland China has followed up with a halt on sugar apples and wax apples. While the blocks were seemingly due to pests found on the fruits, could there be a political reason behind the moves? And could the moves help achieve China's aim?