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.

A woman walks on a sidewalk in the central business district in Beijing on 16 December 2021. (Greg BakerAFP)

China to prioritise economic stability ahead of CCP 20th Party Congress

While China’s economy grew about 8% in 2021, the GDP growth target for this year is expected to be a more modest “above 5%”, taking into consideration various easing measures by the central bank and political considerations heading into the 20th Party Congress in autumn this year. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong gives her assessment.
New Oriental founder Yu Minhong started selling farm products online from last month. (Internet)

China's 'godfather of overseas study' now selling farm produce, regrets listing

For New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc. founder Michael Yu Minhong, the year 2021 has been a rollercoaster ride of losses amid a crackdown on the off-campus tutoring sector. The company seems to be bouncing back with livestreaming farm sales, but is this all just bravado and a further move away from the company’s origins as an educatonal provider assisting those preparing to study overseas? Yu himself has lamented in the past that the minute the company listed on the NYSE, it went off course. In the aftermath of the chaos, will it be able to recentre itself, or will it continue being swept by the tide?
A rider travels on an empty road following lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, 26 December 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Lessons from Xi’an: Why there is no one-size-fits-all solution to Covid-19

China’s insistence on a zero-Covid strategy puzzles many but Han Yong Hong believes that the country may have little choice. She explains China’s unique circumstances and the challenges it faces.
A staff member walks near a poster with an illustration of China's space station, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 14 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

In a US-China war, will the first blow be struck in space?

Recent Chinese animosity against Elon Musk and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites attests to the understanding that information systems will be key in future warfare. If there comes a day when SpaceX’s envisioned 42,000 Starlink satellites are deployed and positioned, it would technically be feasible to put up a “space blockade” against the enemy. Evidently, both China and the US see the strategic implications and are stepping up the space race.
People cross a road in the central business district in Beijing, China, on 16 December 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China's desperate measures to avert a looming economic crisis

Hefty civil servant pay cuts and desperate measures to get more money in regional coffers portend headwinds in China’s economy. The “triple pressures” it currently faces — demand contraction, supply shocks and weakening expectations — will see China needing to right severe imbalances and do more than just pushing for high-quality development.
A woman takes a photograph of the China Central Television (CCTV) Tower in Beijing, China, on Monday, 13 Dec, 2021. Economists predict China will start adding fiscal stimulus in early 2022 after the country’s top officials said their key goals for the coming year include counteracting growth pressures and stabilising the economy. (Andrea Verdelli/Bloomberg)

China holding off on regulatory crackdowns and common prosperity?

“Stability” was the main keyword of the CPC’s annual Central Economic Work Conference on 10 December. Emphasising “economic development as the central task” without compromising on stability, the signs seem to point to the party soon putting the brakes on some of the extreme regulatory measures it has taken to rein in capitalist forces. While it fears its powers could be eroded by the wealthy, it fears even more the collapse of the Chinese economy, which would have dire consequences. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong analyses the situation.
In this file photo taken on 3 November 2021, activists rally in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, California, calling for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics due to concerns over China's human rights record. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

Beijing Olympics diplomatic boycott: Does China care?

Following the announcement of the US’s diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Australia, the UK, and Canada have also joined the boycott, while New Zealand has cited the pandemic as its reason for not sending ministerial-level officials to the Games. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines the moves by these countries, and notes that perhaps the real reason for the US boycott has more to do with US-China competition and the need to play to the domestic gallery. And while China has reacted strongly to the boycott, is it truly concerned?
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a press conference at the Prime Minister's Official Residence, Tokyo, 7 April 2020. (Wikimedia)

What's behind Shinzo Abe's outburst over the Taiwan Strait issue?

Recent comments by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan would not stand by if China launched an offensive on Taiwan have raised the hackles of Beijing, which sees such rhetoric as supporting Taiwan independence. Former Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso also made similar hawkish comments in July. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines Abe’s possible motivations, including reining in current Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida before the latter gets too close to China.
A man holds a US flag as he looks at the West Lawn of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC on 19 November 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP)

Will the Summit for Democracy unite or divide the world?

Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that while its objectives remain vague, the upcoming US-led Summit for Democracy is likely to reinforce “us versus them” divisions along “democracy versus autocracy” lines. Is this helpful? One thing for certain is that it has got countries, not least China, bolstering their narratives on democracy. How will the summit pan out?