Week in Review for January 31, 2020 - SupChina
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Week in Review for January 31, 2020

Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:

  • The coronavirus crisis blanketed the news about China this week. In the Access newsletter, we cautioned against panic on Monday, updated you on the first human-to-human transmissions outside of China on Tuesday, analyzed how far the virus might spread and what precautions to take on Wednesday, and noted the WHO declaring a public health emergency on Thursday.
  • Veteran Chinese journalist Chén Jìbīng 陈季冰 made waves on the Chinese internet for criticizing his peers over their coverage of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Chen’s article (in Chinese) called out the initial underreporting of the crisis and the government’s lack of transparency.
  • Tens of millions of people have been tuning in to watch the livestreamed construction of two emergency hospitals being built in Wuhan to help cope with the influx of coronavirus patients.  
  • Chinese social media users targeted Denmark after a cartoon depicting the Chinese flag with coronaviruses in place of its yellow stars appeared in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The Chinese embassy in Denmark also issued a statement condemning the cartoon.
  • The U.K. opened a narrow door to Huawei 5G, with the government’s decision to designate “the Chinese technology firm a ‘high-risk vendor’ and impos[e] a cap on its involvement in building the UK’s 5G telecoms network,” the Guardian reported. Meanwhile, Huawei overtook Apple as the world’s second-largest smartphone brand in 2019, according to a new report.
  • A vaccine for African swine fever, which has wreaked havoc on China’s pork industry since August 2018, has been developed by experts in the U.S. 
  • A Chinese student was detained last year for tweets he sent mocking Xi Jinping while he was at the University of Minnesota, it was revealed in court documents. The case of Luō Dàiqīng 罗岱青 was reported by Axios, and sparked concern that the Chinese state is taking its censorship to new levels.
  • Chinese basketball fans took to the internet to express their grief over the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. On Sina Weibo, the hashtag #科比去世# (kēbǐ qùshì — #KobeDead) racked up more than 4 billion views over the course of Monday, temporarily taking the spotlight away from the coronavirus epidemic.  
  • The Museum of Chinese in America was fearing the worst after a fire broke out in the building housing the museum’s archives in Manhattan’s historic Chinatown. It has since been reported that at least some of the museum’s archives are likely to be salvageable.
  • Charles M. Lieber, the chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, was arrested and “charged on Tuesday with making false statements about money he had received from a Chinese government-run program.” Lieber was “one of three Boston-area scientists accused on Tuesday of working on behalf of China,” reported the New York Times.
  • The 2020 CCTV Spring Festival Gala aired last Friday. The four-and-a-half-hour extravaganza was watched by over 1 billion people and featured a special segment on the Wuhan coronavirus called “Love Is the Bridge” (爱是桥梁 ài shì qiáoliáng), where six CCTV hosts stood in a line and took turns wishing Wuhan love and support.
  • The stories of Chinese migrant women in illicit massage parlors in the U.S. were detailed in a feature article on SupChina by New York journalist Teng Chen.
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