Edwin Ong

Chongqing Correspondent, Lianhe Zaobao

Edwin has been with Zaobao China Desk since 2015, and has assumed the role as Chongqing Correspondent since April 2019. Based in the operating hub of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, he monitors the political, economic and social development of China's emerging western region, simultaneously keeping an eye on technological trends and developments in China's rural hinterland.

Cardboard cutouts of US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping with protective masks, near a gift shop in Moscow, March 23, 2020. (Evgenia Novozhenina/REUTERS)

China raises its international game with ‘pandemic diplomacy’ in Europe

While China has been diligently making hay while the sun shines, so to speak, in conducting “pandemic diplomacy”, experts assess that its relations with countries in Europe will improve but the US will still hold on to its dominance in the international arena.
This photo provided by Italian news agency Ansa on 13 March 2020 shows Chinese medics posing for a group photo after landing on a China Eastern flight on 13 March at Rome's Fiumicino international airport from Shanghai, bringing medical aid to help fight the new coronavirus in Italy. (STRINGER/ANSA/AFP)

Amid pandemic chaos, will China seize the chance to shape the global narrative?

In part due to the US being caught on the back foot in handling Covid-19, China now has a lead on gaining diplomatic ground and shaping the global narrative through "pandemic diplomacy", says Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong. For a start, China has provided medical supplies to countries and regional organisations such as Pakistan, Laos, Thailand, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy and the African Union, in a strong show of camaraderie through actions.
Pedestrians wear protective masks while walking in New York, 7 March 2020. The availability of testing in the US lags far behind the needs of public health workers on the front lines. (Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg)

China and the US spar over origin of Covid-19

With the Covid-19 epidemic worsening in the US and spreading all over the world, the US has criticised China for covering up the initial outbreak. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also tweeted recently that Covid-19 could have been brought to Wuhan by US troops. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong examines the possible considerations behind comments on both sides.
Medical staff celebrate after all patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan. (AFP)

Leaders praise and thank Wuhan in a reverse show of gratitude

Wuhan party secretary Wang Zhonglin’s suggestion that people should be educated to be grateful to the authorities drew strong backlash, prompting Hubei party secretary Ying Yong to come forward with comments of his own to ease the anger. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong weighs the strategy.
Schools in Lincang city, Yunnan province made it mandatory for all staff and students to drink “大锅药” before they could enter schools. (Weibo)

‘Big pot medicine’ and ‘divine doctors’ a recipe for disaster

Despite an uptick in China’s Covid-19 recovery efforts, people are still taking turns playing doctor. This speaks to the societal issue of opportunists preying on superstitions for their own ends, with no regard for the consequences, says Edwin Ong, Lianhe Zaobao’s Chongqing correspondent.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks to help stop the spread of Covid-19, walk on a street in Tokyo's Ginza area on 25 January 2020. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

In sickness and in health: Honeymoon period for China-Japan relations?

China-Japan relations have never been better in recent years. Chinese commentators have praised Japan’s elegant gestures like sending medical supplies signed off with ancient verses such as “山川异域,风月同天” (roughly: different lands, same sky). China-Japan watchers say this bodes well ahead of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan in April. But whether this goodwill will last, is quite another matter.
A man wearing a protective mask walks along an empty street in Beijing on 31 January 2020, following the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

As long as there’s still a grain of rice, stay home

Singaporean journalist Edwin Ong shares his story on surviving the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in Chongqing, China. From his observation, the long period of self-isolation is wearing down Chinese residents’ resolve to stay home for everyone’s sake. One tires most by doing nothing.
Taiwan Vice President-elect William Lai and incumbent Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen celebrate at a rally after their election victory, outside the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in Taipei on 11 January 2020. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Taiwan election: Understanding the outcry from Chinese state media and netizens

While Beijing has been relatively restrained in commenting on the Taiwan election, Chinese state media has been criticising the US for backing the Democratic Progressive Party in opposing the mainland. Zaobao journalist Edwin Ong speaks to Sun Zhe, co-director of the China Initiative at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, who opines that Chinese state media was raising reasonable doubt on behalf of the state.
Agricultural e-commerce is helping to lift rural Chinese villages and townships out of poverty. (Meng Dandan/SPH)

Village entrepreneurs' love-hate relationship with e-commerce

There are 225 million rural internet users and over 9.8 million e-businesses in China’s rural areas. With internet sales for agricultural products standing at over 230 billion RMB, e-commerce seems like the perfect way to alleviate poverty in China. Edwin Ong speaks to village entrepreneurs to find out how e-commerce works, the many problems it faces, and its future.