Emily Feng

Emily Feng is NPR's Beijing correspondent.

Feng joined NPR in February 2019. She roves around China, through its big cities and small villages, reporting on social trends as well as economic and political news coming out of Beijing. Feng contributes to NPR's newsmagazines, newscasts, podcasts, and digital platforms.

From 2017 through 2019, Feng served as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times. Based in Beijing, she covered a broad range of topics, including human rights, technology, and the environment. While in this position, Feng made four trips to Xinjiang under difficult reporting circumstances. During these trips, Feng reported extensively on China's detention and surveillance campaign in the western region of Xinjiang, was the first foreign reporter to uncover that China was separating Uighur children from their parents and sending them to state-run orphanages, and uncovered that China was introducing forced labor in Xinjiang's detention camps.

Feng's reporting has also let her nerd out over semiconductors and drones, trek out to coal towns and steel mills, travel to environmental wastelands, and write about girl bands and art.

Prior to her work with the Financial Times, Feng freelanced in Beijing, covering arts, culture, and business for such outlets as The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Economist.

For her coverage of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Feng was shortlisted for the Amnesty Media Awards in February 2019 and won a Human Rights Press merit award for breaking news coverage that May. Feng also earned two spots on the October 2018 British Journalism Awards shortlists: Best Foreign Coverage for her work covering Xinjiang, and Young Journalist of the Year for overall reporting excellence.

Feng graduated cum laude from Duke University with a dual B.A. degree from Duke's Sanford School in Asian and Middle Eastern studies and in public policy.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The novel coronavirus outbreak almost certainly did not start in a Chinese lab but its path from animals to humans needs further investigation, a World Health Organization team said Tuesday after wrapping up a visit to China.

The comments came as scientists from the WHO and Chinese health bodies jointly presented preliminary findings after two weeks of investigating in Wuhan, the Chinese city that first detected the virus in late 2019.

For thousands of people, the late Dr. Li Wenliang feels very much alive. They flock to his social media page on Weibo each day to write to him:

"Hey Dr. Li, I just got a second COVID shot. It hurt a little. I miss you."

"Dr. Li, I pet a cute orange cat today! I'm happy!"

"When do you think the pandemic would be over? I long for the days without a mask."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A year ago, on January 23, 2020, China imposed an absolute lockdown in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Eleven million people are under lockdown in Hebei province after a new cluster of coronavirus infections.

Since Jan. 2, Hebei has reported more than 600 new positive cases, 544 of which were from the capital city of Shijiazhuang. To identify all potential patients, health officials have completed one round of mass testing of all the city's residents, and a second one is being carried out this week.

Updated 4:42 a.m.

In a predawn raid, Hong Kong police arrested more than 50 opposition lawmakers and activists for participating in an independent primary, the most sweeping use yet of a national security law Beijing imposed in the region last year.

Hong Kong's beleaguered opposition is still trying to ascertain who has been arrested. The region's police force declined to release a list of those detained Wednesday.

Beijing says it inoculated more than 73,000 people in the first two days after China's first domestic COVID-19 vaccine was approved for commercial use.

China's capital has set up 220 vaccination centers around the city to dole out the two-step vaccine. The elderly and front-line medical workers will receive the first doses.

Cizhong Church in China's southwestern Yunnan province is bathed in a golden light on Christmas Eve.

The faithful are streaming into the church in full Tibetan regalia, with the women splitting off to sit on the left in their bright pink headscarves and silk brocades, and the men to the right in cowboy hats and shearlings. Neighbors wave at each other. Heavily swaddled children run up and down the church aisle.

A trio of young Hong Kong opposition activists have been sentenced after pleading guilty to organizing a demonstration last year as part of a larger protest against Hong Kong's receding autonomy.

Their sentencing on Wednesday is the latest blow to the region's opposition movement, which seeks to preserve Hong Kong's limited autonomy from Beijing.

China posted 4.9% economic growth in its third quarter compared to the same period last year, keeping it on track to be the only major global economy to record an economic expansion this year in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese port city of Qingdao is under soft lockdown after a cluster of 13 COVID-19 cases was discovered last weekend.

In the past five days, health authorities say they conducted more than 10 million coronavirus tests of all Qingdao residents, all of which came back negative. Still, residents have been asked to remain at home, flights to Beijing have been canceled and travelers from Qingdao to other parts of China must quarantine.

China has sentenced an influential property magnate and outspoken critic of the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping to 18 years in prison on corruption charges – a hefty sentence that is likely to further deter dissent among the nation's intellectual and business elite.

On Tuesday, a Beijing court announced that it had found Ren Zhiqiang, 69, guilty of embezzling public funds and taking bribes totaling about $2.9 million over the course of 14 years. He was sentenced in a trial closed to the public. Ren has also been fined $620,000 and his assets seized.

Across China, life has largely returned to normal. Domestic travel is picking back up as a coronavirus pandemic brought under control recedes from memory. Businesses and factories have reopened.

Except in Xinjiang. A sweeping, western region nearly four times the size of California, Xinjiang remains largely cut off from the rest of the country and its some 22 million residents under heavy lockdown, an effort officials say is needed to contain a cluster of more than 800 officially diagnosed cases.

First China was hit by the novel coronavirus. Now it is dealing with the worst flooding in more than 20 years across vast swaths, from its southwestern interior to its east coast.

Zeng Hailin is one of an estimated 3.7 million people displaced or evacuated because of floods in China largely since June.

Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and several executives at the media company he founded have been arrested. They're accused of colluding with foreign forces, the highest profile arrests thus far under a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing just over a month ago.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

The Chinese government ordered the United States on Friday to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu in retaliation for the U.S. shutting down China's consulate in Houston. Ties between the two countries have plummeted to their lowest point in more than 30 years.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, in what China called an "unprecedented escalation."

In a statement early Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said: "We have directed the closure of [People's Republic of China] Consulate General Houston, in order to protect American intellectual property and American's (sic) private information."

A pre-eminent legal scholar and vocal critic of Chinese leader Xi Jinping was taken from his home early Monday by police, according to close friends, the latest public intellectual to be purged in China as the Communist Party increases its control over civil society.

Updated 12:50 p.m. ET

Beijing's top legislative body has unanimously passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, a controversial move that could effectively criminalize most dissent in the city and that risks widening the rift between China and Western countries that have criticized the law.

This year was supposed to be a good year for selling bamboo rats to eat. Prices had been rising steadily as had their popularity as a delicacy when grilled.

Then the coronavirus hit.

"People nowadays are always talking about poverty alleviation. But now, I'm close to being in extreme poverty," said Liu Ping, a breeder of bamboo rats — plump rodents known for their sharp, bamboo-gnawing incisors and ample flesh.

A seafood vendor among the first people infected by the novel coronavirus has a change of heart over what is important in life.

A doctor who treated some of the first patients still puzzles over why the virus behaves the way it does.

A psychologist worries about the deep, lasting emotional strains from the outbreak.

A survivor seeks justice for his mother's death, though he knows his lawsuit against the authorities will likely never go to trial.

Updated 1:15 a.m. Monday

China's capital of Beijing has discovered 79 symptomatic new cases of the coronavirus since Thursday, leading city authorities to resurrect lockdown measures and elevating fears of a second wave of infections.

Since the coronavirus pandemic battered China's economy, tens of millions of urban and factory jobs have evaporated.

Some workers and business owners have banded together to pressure companies or local governments for subsidies and payouts.

But many of the newly unemployed have instead returned to their rural villages. China's vast countryside now serves as an unemployment sponge, soaking up floating migrant workers in temporary agricultural work on small family plots.

In her now-world-famous writing, Chinese author Fang Fang implores: "The departed are gone, but the living must go on. As before. I just hope we can remember."

For months, South Korea has been praised as a model and a beacon of hope for the world in its desperate fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In early February, China's ruling Communist Party was facing one of its biggest political crises in more than three decades. A rapidly spreading outbreak of the new coronavirus was a "massive risk and challenge" to social stability, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned top party officials in an internal speech that was later published publicly.

China's leaders have declared the coronavirus outbreak largely under control within its borders. Now, the authorities are working to control the narrative of how the country contained the virus by questioning and even detaining people who might possess information that challenges the official line.

Those being questioned include Internet-savvy archivists; families and their legal counsel suing the state for damages from the coronavirus epidemic; and even lauded volunteers who staffed critical emergency services from the epicenter city of Wuhan.

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