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Emily Feng

Emily Feng is NPR's Beijing correspondent.

Feng joined NPR in 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.

Previously, Feng served as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times. Based in Beijing, she covered a broad range of topics, including human rights and technology. She also began extensively reporting on the region of Xinjiang during this period, becoming the first foreign reporter to uncover that China was separating Uyghur children from their parents and sending them to state-run orphanages, and discovering that China was introducing forced labor in Xinjiang's detention camps.

Feng's reporting has also let her nerd out over semiconductors and drones, travel to environmental wastelands, and write about girl bands and art. She's filed stories from the bottom of a coal mine; the top of a mosque in Qinghai; and from inside a cave Chairman Mao once lived in.

Her human rights coverage has been shortlisted by the British Journalism Awards in 2018, recognized by the Amnesty Media Awards in February 2019 and won a Human Rights Press merit that May. Her radio coverage of the coronavirus epidemic in China earned her another Human Rights Press Award, was recognized by the National Headliners Award, and won a Gracie Award. She was also named a Livingston Award finalist in 2021.

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.

BEIJING — When China acknowledged this year that four of its soldiers had died fighting Indian forces on the two countries' disputed mountain border eight months prior, the irreverent blogger Little Spicy Pen Ball had questions.

"If the four [Chinese] soldiers died trying to rescue their fellow soldiers, then there must have been those who were not successfully rescued," he wrote on Feb. 19 to his 2.5 million followers on Weibo, a Chinese social media site. "This means the fatalities could not have just been four."

BEIJING - After more than two years in detention, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was put on trial in Beijing for espionage Monday in a case criticized by diplomats and international legal experts as an exercise in hostage diplomacy and for contravening international law.

BEIJING, China — China's legislature is debating draft guidelines that would drastically overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system to give Beijing near total control over the region's election outcomes.

While Beijing has not publicized the details of the proposals, it has outlined broad changes that would effectively allow Beijing to vet candidates for Hong Kong's legislative council and pack an election committee which chooses the region's chief executive.

LULIANG, China — The meteoric rise of aluminum executive Zhang Zhixiong transformed his rural Chinese hamlet into a lucrative mining community. But his fall from grace was even more dramatic.

In March 2018, he and 10 others were sentenced to harsh prison terms for supposedly forming a criminal organization and illegal mining, among other crimes. Zhang, chairman of Juxin Mining Co., was accused of being a crime boss and received a 25-year prison sentence. He denies the charges.

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."

China has approved one domestic coronavirus vaccine for commercial use. Four more are in late stage human trials, and a nationwide vaccination campaign is already underway.

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.

A Chinese billionaire who's a media business partner of Steve Bannon is waging campaigns of disinformation and harassment targeting diaspora democracy activists and even Joe Biden's son.

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

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

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.

Zhang was the picture of despair the first time I met him.

He had accidentally delivered a package to a neighbor of mine who took it and would not give it back. Now, trembling, he wanted to personally reimburse me for the lost item.

I refused to take his money, but for two days, he called me nonstop to apologize. At the time, I did not understand why he was so repentant. Then I found out how closely monitored — and severely punished — delivery workers like him are.

This spring, 14 men were brought into police offices, where, one by one, they were subjected to weeks of questioning about their online correspondence and political views.

Their offense? Buying Islamic books.

The men were detained in Yiwu, China, an international commercial hub on the country's wealthy east coast and home to a growing community of Muslims. The detentions are emblematic of increasingly harsh restrictions targeting spiritual and educational life for Muslims in China.

He is a slight, bespectacled man. Colleagues at the industrial materials company where he works describe him as a humorous but diligent employee, known for driving his white Jeep around town in northwestern China's Ningxia region to meet potential clients.

Unbeknownst to them, he goes by Benjamin Chen online, where he has a whole other business: He is a popular seller of the chemicals used to make the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. NPR has identified him but is not using his real name because of the illegal activity in which he's involved.

Hong Kong's opposition lawmakers are resigning en masse to protest the expulsion of four fellow pro-democracy legislators that Beijing deems secessionist.

The move comes after China's National People's Congress Standing Committee passed a resolution giving Hong Kong authorities the power to bypass local courts and summarily remove politicians seen as a threat to security. Four Hong Kong lawmakers who have supported the territory's pro-democracy movement — and were thus barred from running for reelection — were immediately unseated, as stipulated in the resolution.

What was supposed to be the world's largest initial public stock offering has been halted at the last minute. The Chinese financial company, Ant Group, was set to go public on Thursday. The IPO was expected raise an estimated $37 billion and boost Ant's market value to in excess of $300 billion.

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.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The electronic dance music scene is back in China with a vengeance after months of COVID-related cancellations. NPR's Emily Feng takes us to a rave attended by thousands of people.

Polls show widespread distrust toward China is growing in the U.S. over how China initially handled its coronavirus outbreak and ongoing human rights abuses.

At the same time, Chinese attitudes toward the U.S. are souring — while popular satisfaction with the Chinese state has grown since the central government quickly brought the pandemic under control through sometimes brutal methods.

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.

Textbooks censored. Teachers investigated for improper speech. Students arrested and charged with secession for their social media posts.

Just over a month after Beijing imposed a national security law in Hong Kong, authorities are targeting in rapid succession figures at all levels of Hong Kong's civil society and education sectors, despite assurances from Beijing officials and Hong Kong's top leader that the law would only be used to target a small minority of people.

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.

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 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.

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