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.

Taiwan Air Force staffers walk past an upgraded US-made F-16 V fighter during a ceremony at the Chiayi Air Force Base in Taiwan on 18 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

US democracy summit: Taipei is invited, Beijing is not included

The upcoming Summit for Democracy led by the US may be yet another test of US-China relations, with the invite list including “Taiwan”, but leaving out mainland China and Russia. Setting up a democracy versus autocracy narrative is part of geopolitical tussling and the US will likely hold on to its Taiwan card. But will this prompt Beijing to dig in its heels on countermeasures against Taiwan?
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and his wife, Peng Liyuan. (Internet)

Chinese local government’s two-day seminar on ‘first lady diplomacy’ backfires

A congratulatory letter by Peng Liyuan, spouse of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the inauguration of the new Tianjin Juilliard School may have been viewed as a warm gesture if it was allowed to stay as such. Instead, Tianjin officials organised a two-day seminar and forum urging participants to “learn from the Peng Liyuan spirit”, which ended up drawing flak. A case of less is more?
This file combination of pictures created on 8 June 2021 shows Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and US President Joe Biden, who are scheduled to hold a virtual summit next week. (Nicolas Asfouri and Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

Will a Biden-Xi virtual summit change anything?

A virtual summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will allegedly be held next week. However, with comments from the White House that the meeting is not about deliverables, and the US’s continued attacks such as Biden’s criticism of China’s non-appearance at the recent UN climate change conference in Glasgow, are prospects for major breakthroughs bright? Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong looks at what the session might bring.
Taiwanese soldiers fire an 8 inch (203 mm) M110 self-propelled howitzer during the live fire Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, in Pingtung, Taiwan, 30 May 2019. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

30,000 US troops in Taiwan?

US senator John Cornyn tweeted that 30,000 US troops are currently stationed in Taiwan, before deleting it after it caused an uproar in China. Following the US troop pullout of Afghanistan, China has played up the idea of "Afghanistan today, Taiwan tomorrow", saying that the US would abandon Taiwan in a crisis. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong takes a look at how the US and China are playing their cards in the Taiwan Strait.
An aerial view shows cars sitting in floodwaters at the entrance of a tunnel after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in China's central Henan province on 22 July 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Zhengzhou floods: Netizens berate local government and media for inadequate response

Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that even as disaster relief continues after massive floods in Zhengzhou, people are pointing fingers at the authorities, saying that early alert systems and coordination between agencies can be improved. As natural disasters increase due to climate change, will governments be forced to pay greater attention to preparing for unforeseen events?
Customers drink on reopened cafe terraces on Saint Germain in Paris, France, on 19 May 2021. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg)

Is the China-EU investment deal doomed?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was effectively frozen by the European Parliament last week, in consideration of China’s human rights issues in Xinjiang and its sanctions on individuals and organisations from the EU. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong asks: will this be the end of the deal, or is there still hope of a revival?
In this file photo taken on 25 January 2020, medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

The world may never know the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic

A Joint WHO-China Study Team report has said that it is "extremely unlikely" that a Wuhan laboratory leak was the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet the US and other countries have cast doubts on the report, citing delay and access issues. China hit back, labelling this as another smear campaign. With each side singing their own tune, are the report results of any consequence?
A paramilitary police officer stands guard during a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on National Day to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Exemplary punishment: How China's using wolf-warrior tactics on Australia to warn the rest

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian's recent tweet of an image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat has brought China-Australia relations to a new low. While the Australian prime minister has softened his stance and even made goodwill gestures to China, these were rejected by Chinese officials and its people. Edwin Ong traces the deterioration of China-Australia relations and notes that China may not rein in its abrasive wolf-warrior tactics anytime soon. However, he says such tactics may not benefit China in the end.
Members of the PLA Honour Guard attend a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on National Day to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

50 years later, is China ‘preparing for war’ again?

In China’s just-released "14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035", the centennial goal of modernising the PLA by the latter’s 100th anniversary in 2027 was set out. In the face of headwinds caused by turbulent US-China relations, does this spell China’s hardened mindset of getting prepared for war? What impact will such defensive thinking have on China and the world in the next 15 years?