Han Yong Hong

Associate Editor, Zaobao; Editor, Zaobao.com

Yong Hong is associate editor of Zaobao and editor of Zaobao.com. She joined Lianhe Zaobao as a journalist in 2000, covering theatre, music and visual arts. In 2005, she was appointed Correspondent for the Zaobao Beijing Bureau and later become Beijing Chief Correspondent in 2009. She received the Business China Young Achiever Award in 2011, making her the second recipient of this award, and the first journalist to receive this recognition.

John Sudworth says that he has been facing pressure and threats from the Chinese authorities following his reports on sensitive topics. (Screengrab from the BBC News YouTube channel)

BBC vs CCTV's Xinjiang: Which is the real Xinjiang?

BBC China correspondent John Sudworth's sudden move to Taiwan from Beijing has elicited opposing interpretations from China and the West; in fact, so has his reports on Xinjiang. Was Sudworth creating “false reports” of Uighur factory girls? Or were the Chinese officials coercing young Uighurs to leave their hometowns for work in the cities as asserted by the BBC? Han Yong Hong thinks the contradictory interpretations show a clash in ideological values and views between China and the West.
This photo taken on 20 September 2015 shows Chinese farmers picking cotton in the fields during the harvest season in Hami, Xinjiang, China. (STR/AFP)

The fight that never ends: Why are China and the West now fighting over Xinjiang cotton?

While Western and Chinese governments continue their tit-for-tat one-upmanship, multinational companies and their big brands are running greater risks of stepping on political landmines in the Chinese market. But can they stay out of the fray?
Two paramilitary police officers patrol in the area south of the Great Hall of the People during the second plenary session of the National People's Congress in Beijing on 8 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

‘Time and situation’ in China’s favour, but is China invincible?

Amid a strong sense that the East is on the rise while the West is in decline, China’s annual Two Sessions came to a close on a confident note, says Han Yong Hong. This augurs well for China’s plan to reach its goal of having a per capita GDP of a moderately developed country by 2035. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and unforeseen variables can still develop at every turn.
Pro-democracy demonstrators gesture with three-fingered salutes outside West Kowloon Magistrates Courts during a hearing for 47 opposition activists charged with violating the city's national security law in Hong Kong on 4 March 2021. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

Overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system: Is it still 'one country, two systems'?

Hong Kong’s electoral reform is set to be a hot topic at this year’s Two Sessions, the annual meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) currently underway. Changes are being planned to ensure the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”. Will going from a “Hong Kong run by Hong Kongers” to “Hong Kong run by patriots” mean going against “one country, two systems”?
This file photo taken on 4 June 2019 shows the Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. - The US will seize all imports of tomato and cotton products from China's Xinjiang region due to the use of forced labor, the Customs and Border protection agency announced on 13 January 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is there a genocide in Xinjiang?

The West has often criticised China for what it calls human rights abuses and violations in regions such as Xinjiang, even going so far as to call for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be shifted away from Beijing. And as his parting salvo, former US Secretary of State Mike stated that China has committed “genocide and crimes of humanity in Xinjiang". What are the implications of the word “genocide” and why is it being tiptoed around? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong says that while China needs to be more transparent about what's happening in Xinjiang, the Chinese government's single-minded push to "educate" the Uighurs may not be equivalent to a "genocide".
In this file photo taken on 4 December 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with then-US Vice President Joe Biden (left) inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. Since his inauguration, Biden has yet to speak to Xi on the phone. (Lintao Zhang/Pool/File Photo/Reuters)

When will Biden call China?

Even with a new US president in place, US-China relations look set to remain uncertain as poor communication between them continues, like chickens and ducks trying to have a conversation. Except they’re not talking to each other at the moment — not on the phone at least. 
People stand at a vaccination site after receiving a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, in Shanghai, China, 19 January 2021. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

War of words over efficacy and safety of vaccines: Will China win?

A media war is underway between the state media in China and the media in the US and Europe over vaccine development, distribution and reception. With loud hailer tactics used all round, it’s not the truth but what people perceive to be true that counts most. Whose voice will be the loudest to drown out the din and shape the vaccine narrative?
US President Donald Trump speaks, with a flag behind him, during a campaign rally at Cecil Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, US, 24 September 2020. (Tom Brenner/REUTERS)

Decoding the 'hyperactive' outgoing Trump administration

The US State Department recently cancelled all overseas trips, including the planned trips by UN envoy Kelly Craft to Taiwan, and Secretary of State Pompeo to Europe. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong takes a look at what it says about the outgoing Trump administration and the implications for President-elect Joe Biden’s team going forward.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping are seen on a screen during a video conference, in Brussels, Belgium, 30 December 2020. (Johanna Geron/REUTERS)

Why the Chinese public is unenthusiastic about further reforms and opening up

Talks on the China-EU investment deal were concluded on 30 December 2020, lending fresh impetus to China’s further opening up to the world. However, the response so far, both externally and internally, seems to be lukewarm to the idea of what some call China’s third opening up. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong ponders why this is so and analyses where China is likely to go from here.