Listen

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.

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

Hong Kong confirmed its first death from the novel coronavirus on Tuesday as health workers in the territory were on their second day of a walkout aimed at forcing closure of the border with mainland China — the epicenter of the epidemic.

A 39-year-old man who had visited Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared, died at Hong Kong's Princess Margaret Hospital on Tuesday morning, the hospital confirmed.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

The 24 American students who signed up for Middlebury College's spring language program housed at Beijing's Capital Normal University were expecting tough homework assignments in Mandarin and a chance to explore a new country on weekend trips.

More than a dozen cities in the Chinese province of Hubei are under official lockdown. And some cities and villages are taking it upon themselves to seal off their communities — even if their actions aren't legal.

It's all to prevent the spread of a new strain of coronavirus that has killed over 130 people and sickened more than 5,900 in China.

What do these measures consist of? And do scientists think they will help contain this rapidly spreading virus?

The strictest quarantine is in Wuhan, a city of 11 million that's the epicenter of the outbreak.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Construction workers in China were scrambling to build a makeshift quarantine and treatment facility on the outskirts of Wuhan, the epicenter of a rapidly spreading new viral pneumonia that has killed 41 people and infected more than 1,000 others in the country.

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Wuhan's public health authorities say they are in a "state of war" as they quarantine the Chinese city in an attempt to halt the spread of a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus.

"Strictly implement emergency response requirements, enter into a state of war and implement wartime measures to resolutely curb the spread of this epidemic," urged a committee of Wuhan's top officials. "Homes must be segregated, neighbors must be watched."

It wasn't just the fact that one of China's best universities had changed its charter last December to emphasize loyalty to the ruling Communist Party that raised eyebrows. Shanghai's Fudan University also deleted principles like freedom of thought, and did so publicly, as if expecting praise.

Furious students staged a rare and risky protest in the school cafeteria in December. They sang the school's anthem, which praises academic freedom.

Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, has won a landslide victory in a hotly contested election, dealing a stinging rebuke to Beijing's efforts to control the island's democratic government.

"Democratic Taiwan and our democratically elected government will not concede to threats and intimidation," Tsai declared to thousands of cheering supporters at an election rally outside her party's campaign headquarters Saturday night. "The results of this election have made that answer crystal clear."

China produces huge amounts of online data — and little of it is protected. That has led to a thriving market for stolen personal information, from national identification numbers to home addresses.

Some of it is used for state surveillance, while much of it is used for private extortion and fraud.

Wang Yi, a leader in one of the most well-known Christian congregations in China, has been quietly sentenced to nine years in prison, according to a statement on the website of the Intermediate People's Court of Chengdu Municipality.

Updated Dec. 13 at 10:07 a.m. ET

Eye Central Television is a popular satirical TV news show in Taiwan with an active social media presence. One day in April, it received a Facebook message from someone using the name Tina Hsu, but this was no ordinary fan.

Hsu's Facebook profile was blank; it had just been created that morning.

At a recent election campaign event in Taiwan, a procession of women beat ceremonial drums, dance and wave lotus-shaped umbrellas in celebration. But beyond the slogans promising national security and prosperity, the topic on everyone's mind is what to do about China.

The star of the event is Han Kuo-yu, a pro-Beijing candidate running for president with the opposition Kuomintang, who poses a stark contrast with the current leaders.

President Trump has signed a bill signaling support for Hong Kong's protests, prompting Beijing to issue a sharp response and summon the U.S. ambassador to China.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 allows the United States to level sanctions on individuals who carry out human rights violations in Hong Kong, which has been rocked by mass protests for more than five months.

Living quietly in Taiwan are several dozen young Hong Kong protesters who, one night in July, vandalized Hong Kong's legislature during ongoing anti-government protests.

Their arrival in Taiwan has revived a fierce debate on the small, self-ruled island over whether it can — or should — accept Chinese citizens seeking safety.

Updated at 1:00 p.m. ET

Millions of people turned out to vote in Hong Kong's district elections on Sunday — a peaceful action nonetheless seen by many as an act of protest.

Normally low-key affairs, elections this year for district councilors — akin to community representatives — have been widely seen as a referendum on popular support for anti-government protests that are now in their sixth month.

When Liu, a 31-year-old Chinese insurance firm manager, learned she was pregnant in 2017, she resolved to keep her baby.

She tried to hide the fact that she was unmarried and pregnant from her colleagues at the private insurance firm where she works in Shanghai. She paid her own hospital bills rather than rely on public insurance and risk exposing her secret to the hospital and her employer.

One afternoon last month, Serikjan Bilash went to the watchdog organization he co-founded in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to celebrate the opening of its new office.

Since its founding in 2017, the organization, Atajurt Eriktileri, has publicized thousands of accounts of ethnic Kazakhs who are among the primarily Muslim minorities rounded up in detention centers in Xinjiang, China.

The U.S. ambassador to China is pushing back against Beijing's criticism of a new State Department requirement that Chinese diplomats must report certain meetings they have in the U.S.

The State Department announced Wednesday that it is requiring all Chinese diplomats in the U.S. to notify them of meetings they plan to have with local and state officials as well as educational and research institutions. However, there is no penalty associated yet with failing to report such meetings.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivered her first policy address Wednesday since pro-democracy protesters took to the city's streets almost five months ago.

But she had to do so by video, after chanting opposition lawmakers forced her from the chamber.

The annual policy speech was unusually short and focused on the deep social and economic inequalities that have proliferated in Hong Kong. Lam pledged to provide better welfare policies while making substantial increases in affordable housing.

Hundreds of masked protesters peacefully marched through Hong Kong's central business district Saturday afternoon, some linking arms to form human chains, in defiance of a decision to ban face masks at public gatherings only the day before.

They chanted a new demand, adding to a list of five demands reiterated over more than four months of protest: "We have the right to wear face masks."

Updated at 7 a.m. ET

Near Beijing's center, along Chang'an Avenue — the Avenue of Eternal Peace — more than 100,000 performers and soldiers readied for a mass military parade that would unveil China's newest fighting technology, including a hypersonic missile and stealth fighter jets.

At promptly 10 a.m. Tuesday, the parade began with 70 rounds of cannon fire.

Major streets have been cordoned off for hours at a time, leaving restaurant and bar customers stranded overnight. Bomb-sniffing dogs stand guard on busy corners. Teams of hawk-eyed retirees sporting red armbands patrol the sidewalks as part of volunteer neighborhood watch committees, ready to report the smallest sign of a challenge to public security.

Gold-domed mosques and gleaming minarets once broke the monotony of the Ningxia region's vast scrubland every few miles. This countryside here is home to some of China's 10.5 million Hui Muslims, who have practiced Sunni or Sufi forms of Islam within tight-knit communities for centuries, mainly in the northwest and central plains. Concentrated in the Ningxia region, the Hui are China's third-largest ethnic minority.

Twitter and Facebook last month suspended hundreds of thousands of accounts and operations that they said were part of a Chinese state-linked disinformation campaign designed to discredit pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The Trump administration has shown unwavering support for the Israeli government, except for one major criticism: China's growing influence in the Israeli economy.

Chinese companies have invested in strategic Israeli infrastructure, from shipping to electricity to public transportation, and they have bought up millions of dollars in stakes in cutting-edge technology startups.

Where Israel sees an opportunity to access the world's second-largest economy, the United States sees security threats posed by its main adversary.

Cheng Hao is struggling to understand why his younger brother was arrested.

The 50-year-old retiree and occasional deliveryman says he was living a quiet, unremarkable existence in China's eastern port city of Nanjing. He had only seen his brother sporadically and never took much interest in his advocacy work, he says.

That is until July 24, when he heard that the authorities arrested his younger brother Cheng Yuan, a public interest advocate, two days before and took him into custody in the city of Changsha.

Hong Kong's embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, is officially withdrawing an extradition bill with China after more than three months of sometimes violent protest.

In a videotaped speech, Lam cited growing clashes between protesters and police and online harassment from both sides as an impetus for backing down regarding the bill.

"For many people, Hong Kong has become an unfamiliar place," Lam said. "We need a common basis to start such a dialogue."

Updated on Sept. 19 at 10:23 a.m. ET

The popular Chinese messaging app WeChat is Zhou Fengsuo's most reliable communication link to China.

That's because he hasn't been back in over two decades. Zhou, a human rights activist, had been a university student in 1989, when the pro-democracy protests broke out in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. After a year in jail and another in political reeducation, he moved to the United States in 1995.

When the White House decided to levy tariffs on goods from China, U.S. leaders were divided on whether a prolonged trade dispute was a wise course of action.

Now, so is Beijing.

As anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong enter their third month, China's leaders face a new challenge: managing perceptions of the protests at home.

China is anxious the protests might inspire similar dissent on the mainland, where huge swathes of territory — including the regions of Xinjiang and Tibet — have also seen numerous instances of opposition to Beijing's governance.

Pages