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.

This picture taken during a government organised media tour shows a seller holding a portrait of the Chinese President Xi Jinping next to pictures of the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Dongfanghong Theatre in Yan'an, the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party from 1936 to 1947, in Shaanxi province on 10 May 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

From ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’ to ‘lovable China’

At a study session on international communications for the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on China to build an image of a “credible, lovable and respectable China”. Putting aside the euphemism, says Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong, what is most important is how the goal can possibly be achieved in China’s current diplomatic context.
A man walks past an Alibaba sign outside the company's office in Beijing, China on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Can private Chinese enterprises truly ‘develop boldly and with confidence’?

Amid punishments meted out to Chinese private enterprises such as Alibaba, President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to various private enterprises was seen as a way for the Chinese government to assure companies that the state would still be supporting them. However, the status of private enterprises has always been a little fuzzy in China. Companies feel that they are at a disadvantage when competing with state-owned enterprises and may be reined in when they grow too large. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong looks for a way out.   
US President Joe Biden meets virtually with leaders of the Quad countries of Australia, India, Japan and the US in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on 12 March 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP)

Biden’s impressive ‘three-in-one’ policy to deal with China

Biden’s brilliant stroke of sending his close advisors to Taiwan while sending the US climate envoy to Beijing shows that the US is certainly prepared to be “competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be”. How can China create room for manoeuvre within this framework?
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.