South China Morning Post

40 Episodes

By: South China Morning Post

China 2020 census: playing the numbers game
Today at 12:00 PM

Mainland China's once-per-decade census has been released, showing overall popualtion growth even though some demographers still believe China’s population is likely to start shrinking in the next few years. The SCMP’s Mimi Lau examines the sensitivities behind the numbers that will shape China’s direction over the coming decades. Sidney Leng speaks about the methodology for the count, Zhou Xin weighs in on what the latest census numbers can tell us about changes in various segments of China’s…

G7 hones in on China, Beijing scraps talks with Australia, and why EU’s Hungary has Beijing’s back
Last Friday at 8:15 AM

Is the G7 ganging up on China? This week, the team looks at how that perception may be pushing Beijing into a corner, causing it to double down. China’s suspension of economic talks with Australia may already be proof of that, as Canberra is made an example to the world. Hear also about Beijing's choice as its new ambassador to the United States and Tamas Matura, China expert from the Corvinus University of Budapest analyses on why Hungary is China’s staunchest defender in the EU.

5 Minute Listening: Meet the new exchange students

Listen to the audio and check your answers here.

China's anti-trust issues: wielding the big stick on Big Tech

After years of turbocharged growth, China’s leading tech firms have come under intense scrutiny from Beijing. The record fines slapped on Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, sent alarm bells among China’s Big Tech. But the move may not be just a bid to rein in the firms, but Beijing’s attempt to reshape the future direction and focus of its home-grown tech companies. SCMP’s Xinmei Shen and Jane Zhang discuss the changes under way with guest HKU China law professor Angela Zhang

India snubs Covid aid from Beijing, and Biden raises China-US rivalry in first 100 days speech

China, according to US President Joe Biden, is “deadly earnest” about becoming the world’s most “consequential” nation. In this week’s podcast, the team analyses Biden’s first speech to a joint session of Congress. Also, reports of China’s “declining” population are refuted by Beijing even though it has yet to release new figures. And SCMP China Desk reporter Sarah Zheng looks behind mask diplomacy and India’s snub of pandemic relief from border rival China.

5 Minute Listening: Philip’s legacy lives on

The Duke of Edinburgh – who died earlier this month aged 99 – was portrayed by a variety of actors in movies and television.

The Biden climate summit, Wen Jiabao gets censored, and will China miss Merkel?

The talks were virtual, but the promises were not just hot air at this week’s climate summit organised by US President Joe Biden. Finbarr Bermingham joins Zhou Xin and John Carter from the SCMP Political Economy team to recap the pledges leaders made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and what seemed like a measure of cooperation between Washington and China. Also this week: the strange story of censorship involving former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s personal article about his mother, the UK…

5 Minute Listening: Out of a job...temporaily

Click here for the audio Script: Krish: I lost my job three weeks ago, but I’m not worried because I know I’ll get another job soon. I’m very optimistic about my chances for finding work again quickly. I work in retail, and there are lots of opportunities in this work sector at the moment. I’ve already had three interviews and was offered the position after each interview. However, the working hours were not what I wanted so I didn’t take the jobs. I’ve got three more interviews scheduled…

Taiwan tension, military standoff and silicon chips; Europe confronts Beijing debt and influence

Taiwan has been in the headlines during a week that a delegation sent by US President Biden visited the self-ruled island, and when Beijing mounted what was seen as an aggressive show of force towards Taipei. This week’s China Geopolitics podcast also looks into the pressure on Japanese PM Suga, how Taiwan company TMSC emerged as top global semiconductor supplier, and why the EU refuses to bail out Montenegro’s massive debt to China for a highway to Slovakia.

5 Minute Listening: A guide to dating

An expert says the first dates are really a mixed bag of anxiety, fun, and endless questions, even if it’s on Zoom

Biden’s Beijing Winter Games boycott bluff and China’s role in a global corporate tax plan

In a week that the US State Department openly flirted with – then pulled back from – the idea of a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, SCMP political economy editors Zhou Xin and John Carter discuss the significance of the Games to China's image-building efforts, the dilemma it would create for potential sponsors and the realpolitik of Washington's mixed messaging. Also in this edition of Inside China: the roles Beijing and Hong Kong might play in US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's…

Xinjiang sanctions explained: China weaponises consumers vs the West

The fallout from a lightning blitz of sanctions between Western nations and China over alleged abuses in Xinjiang continues. China's stinging official retaliation raises huge questions about its investment deal with Europe, while China's netizen army has risen up against Western brands in response.    H&M, Nike, Hugo Boss, and Adidas and their stances on Xinjiang-made cotton have lead to mass boycotts in China. Political economy editors John Carter and Zhou Xin unpack the political…

5 Minute Listening: Bookshop advice

Eun-woo works in a bookshop. Sometimes, customers come into the shop not knowing what they want to buy and asks for advice

5 Minute Listening: Milk on tap

Click here for the audio Voice 1: You are on your way home one evening and you suddenly remember you haven’t got any milk in the fridge. The nearby convenience store has sold out of fresh milk and there won’t be another delivery until tomorrow morning. They haven’t got any long-life milk left either. It looks like you’ll be drinking your coffee black and skipping your breakfast cereal in the morning. Voice 2: Now, if you lived in the small German town of Neunkirchen - seelscheid near the city…

Dr Ben Cowling on Hong Kong & herd immunity; China's new vaccine, passport politics and COVAX

Dr Ben Cowling from the HKU School of Public Health discusses what herd immunity looks like for Hong Kong and how new Covid-19 variants will affect vaccinations; SCMP reporter Simone McCarthy discusses the latest vaccine manufactured in China, how Beijing's vaccine diplomacy is being countered by the West and how the global COVAX agreement and debate over IP are affecting vaccines for developing nations.

Analysing the US-China Alaska meeting; EU announces sanctions for China over Xinjiang

Finbarr Bermingham and the SCMP political economy team delve beneath the opening bluster of the US-China meeting in Anchorage and analyse the bigger picture. What of the US opening gambit on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan? What will the agreement on action to confront climate change mean? Zhou Xin looks at the media coverage in mainland China media framing this as demonstrating China's superpower status; John Carter looks at the upcoming NATO meeting and the significance of the European Union…

5 Minute Listening: What's your bid?

Click here for the audio Script Dewi: Item 1 Dewi: Lot 443. We have here an exceptional pearl bracelet from Japan. Look at the exquisite quality of the pearls. It dates back to 1933. The bracelet is still in its original leather case and the dated jeweller receipt is even in the case. A lot of ladies were admiring this item during viewing. I will start the bidding at five thousand dollars. I see five. Five. Six? Thank you sir. Six and a half thousand. Seven from the lady in red. Eight, eight…

What China's NPC decided; the US-China Alaska meeting; will the Quad be Asia's NATO?

Finbarr Bermingham, Zhou Xin and John Carter look at the coming high-level meeting between the US and China in Alaska, and compare what each team of negotiators are looking to get from the occasion, while Biden's calling together of the 'Quad' raises more questions of what India, Japan and Australia have in common. Hear analysis from Beijing-based reporters Mai Jun and Kinling Lo of China's National People's Congress, its announced electoral changes for Hong Kong's electoral system, and how the…

5 Minute Listening: Interview with an Idol

Well-known author C. C. Cliff has come to Hong Kong to meet her fans.

China's feminist backlash; the women who #ChoosetoChallenge marriage and motherhood

Mimi Lau presents an International Women's Day special: Phoebe Zhang reports on the backlash against feminists and women's rights activists, as well the ongoing fight for single women to be allowed to freeze their eggs; Qin Chen reports on how China's plunging birth rate is being driven by the daughters born and raised during the years of the One Child policy.

Analysing China's NPC; focus on Hong Kong; in-depth with Reinhard Butikofer, European Parliament

Finbarr Bermingham speaks with SCMP political economy editors Zho Xin and John Carter about the latest Hong Kong crackdown on pro-democracy figures, and delve deep into the latest policy announcements at the National People's Congress in Beijing concerning economic growth and technology. Hear an in-depth interview with Reinhard Butikofer, German politician and chair of the European Union parliamentary delegation to China.

5 Minute listening: The Happiest Place on Earth

Click here for the audio Script: Voice 1:  If you ask anybody who goes to Walt Disney World, “Who is Joe Potter?”, they probably wouldn’t have an answer. But without him, there the happiest place on Earth wouldn’t exist. Voice 2: Born in 1905, General William “Joe” Potter was the force that turned a swampy Florida wetland into the Magic Kingdom. He was the architect of Disney World, the mastermind behind the hidden tunnel system at the park, and the reason why Disney World doesn’t have a…

China's Two Sessions preview, Biden's trade policy and the EU's China strategy

Finbarr Bermingham and political economy editors John Carter and Zhou Xin look at the upcoming announcement of Beijing's five year plan and how it will address the rising middle income trap for China's economic growth. Hear analysis of the Biden administration inquiry into 'supply chains' that didn't mention China and the push by US tech companies back into the mainland now Trump has gone. Special guest is Philippe LeCorre, EU specialist with Harvard University, discussing the EU strategy…

China's historic 2021 Two Sessions: what will happen

Mimi Lau explains the workings of China's two annual political meetings that include the world's largest parliamentary gathering, the National People's Congress. Beijing-based reporter Mai Jun looks at the combined forces of history and future plans influencing this year's event, from the announcement of the five year plan and 2035 vision as well as the centenary of China's Communist Party and the role of China's President Xi Jinping.

5 Minute Listening: The Opticians

Ginny works at Brite Lens, a newly opened optical store in town.

Explaining Douyin, TikTok and why ByteDance is listing on the New York Stock Exchange

If China's tech giant ByteDance lists on the US stock exchange it will be the first Chinese social media company to launch an IPO in American stock history.  Zhou Xin discusses the background to this move, starting with Donald Trump's threat to ban TikTok in Agust of 2020, and the red lines Beijing will have for any access to the powerful algorithms that power Bytedance technology. China tech specialist reporter Masha Borak explains the big differences between TikTok and its Chinese equivalent…

In conversation: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, new director-general for the WTO

A special ICYMI recap of an interview between Finbarr Bermingham and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, back when she was one of two candidates vying for the position of director general of the World Trade Organization. Hear her talk about her vision for the WTO regarding Covid-19 vaccines, how to repair US-China trade relations and exactly what reforms she thinks are needed for this organisation to be effective.

Chinese zodiac Year of the Ox forecasts: wealth, health, love and luck

Beijing-based reporter Qin Chen presents a Lunar New Year special on the forecasts for the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. SCMP China society editor Luisa Tam has consulted with top feng shui masters and sources to find what theYear of the Ox portends for health, wealth and relationships as well as what colours, numbers and dates may be lucky.

How China's Lunar New Year is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic

China is trying to contain outbreaks of Covid-19 during the Lunar New Year by asking its citizens to stay where they are instead of travelling home for the annual re-union dinner. Kinling Lo speaks with reporters Phoebe Zhang in Shenzhen and Qin Chen Beijing about how these controls are affecting New Year plans and the mood of locals and migrant workers, while tech reporter Masha Borak details how China's big tech companies are expanding their services and reach in an effort to help people…

Hong Kong Four Trails Ultramarathon: no checkpoints, no support... no mercy

Hong Kong is famous for its urban landscape but locals love its trails: the MacLehose, Wilson, Hong Kong and Lantau trails wind upwards through mountainous jungle terrain and offer breathtaking views of land and sea. Every year upon the Lunar New Year holiday a select group of runners are invited to try and run all four trails - 298km in total - in one punishing ultramarathon. In 2021, an even smaller group are being called upon to try: Mark Agnew interviews runner Hyun Chang Chung about about…

The great Hainanese chicken rice debate: Singapore vs Malaysia

Is this poached chicken dish served with various condiments originally from Singapore or Malaysia? It's a question that stirs up quite a debate between these two countries where eating and criticising the other side’s cuisine are national pastimes. In this episode we trace the origins of Hainanese chicken rice and find out how there's a lot more that goes into making this succulent dish fragrant and flavourful than meets the eye.

Analysing China's new Covid-19 outbreak; the Myanmar coup and China, ASEAN and US reactions

John Carter unpacks how fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 in mainland China will impact the Chinese economy, as the nation prepares for the Lunar New Year holiday. SCMP China desk edtor Wiliam Zheng analyses Beijing's top diplomat's first policy speech since the Biden inauguration; senior Asia correspondent Bhavan Jaipragas looks at China's relationship with Myanmar, the reaction from Beijing and Washington to the coup and how it contrasts with how the ASEAN nations have reacted.

China's Tianwen-1 Mars mission and its fast-growing space industry

SCMP journalist Nadeem Shad speaks with freelance space journalist and China space industry expert Andrew Jones about the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars, and the audacious plan to deliver a vehicle to the Martian surface. Hear how the other missions being sent by NASA and the United Arab Emirates are not a new 'space race', and how it might just take FBI permission to allow an American spacecraft to communicate with a Chinese one. Andrew Jones also unpacks why 2020 was one of the busiest years in…

5 Minute Listening: Get ready to run virtually

Celebrity trainer Amanda offers some useful tips to help runners maintain their energy and stay hydrated during a virtual race.

Xi Jinping at Davos and global reaction; analysing the China-EU investment deal

Finbarr Bermingham and the team discuss Xi's Davos speech. How is it different from his speech in 2017, when he spoke just after Trump took office and pitched China as the saviour of multilateralism? He also made an important play for the global south, pitching China as the power that will support the developing world. In the second part of the show economist Nick Marro from the Economist Global Trade Intelligence Unit discusses the furore around the EU China investment deal, signed in December…

5 Minute Listening: Book Tickets

Conversation 1  (Click here for the audio) Carey: Good morning. How may I help you? Voice: Good morning. I’m planning a short afternoon trip to London with a couple of friends who love musicals. I’d like to book three tickets for a theatre show please. Carey: No problem. Which show were you thinking of? Voice: Have you got three tickets for Phantom of the Opera for a Saturday evening anytime next month? Carey: Let me have a look. We’ve got three in the front of the stalls for Saturday the…

Covid-19 one year on: return to Wuhan, WHO inquiry begins, how it changed China

Mimi Lau and Kinling Lo speak with fellow journalists at the South China Morning Post, one year after our first podcast reporting on the coronavirus outbreak which became a pandemic. Simone McCarthy details the latest on the WHO investigation team which has landed in mainland China and what they hope to find; video journalist Thomas Yau discusses his return to Wuhan one year after being among the first journalists to head in to the city; Finbarr Bermingham analyses the impact of the pandemic on…

China's economy grows, but at what cost? Biden's new appointees talk tough on Beijing

Analysis of China's economy following its GDP announcement; it was one of few in the world to exit 2020 with growth, but what of the growing inequality between rich and poor. Has its economic model reached a plateau, and how will it continue to grow its nation's wealth? John Carter and Zhou Xin look at China's economy in 2021 and its challenges, and find contrast in how the US and China approach Big Tech. Washington correspondent Jacob Fromer analyses what he has witnessed in the confirmation…

5 Minute Listening: Grandma's Visit

Click here for the audio Script: Mum: Why the long face? Amy: You know why. Grandma and I don't get on and I don't like it when she comes to stay. Mum: Don't be silly. She brought you a lovely present the last time she was here. Amy: You must be joking! A lovely present? She gave me a pair of awful pink fluffy slippers that I wouldn't be seen dead wearing. She thinks I'm still a kid. Mum: Well, she’s coming on Saturday to stay with us for ten days. You know she's been in hospital for an…

Explaining China's five Covid vaccines, test results and global distribution plans

Analysis of China's five Covid-19 vaccines now in the final phase of testing, and plans for global distribution. Kinling Lo speaks with Josephine Ma about vaccines developed by Sinovac, CanSino, Sinopharm and Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, comparing their designs and test results in south east Asia and Brazil. Simone McCarthy reports on Xi Jinping's plans for these vaccines to be a 'global public good', which nations are ordering these vaccines, and the logistics needed to inocculate…