Bill Birtles,

Bill Birtles


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Recent articles by Bill:

China's Hong Kong security law is also about winning the hearts and minds of the next generation

If similar 'national security education' activities on the mainland are anything to go by, China's Government now has the legal basis to begin patriotic classes for Hong Kong's next generation, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

China has set up laws to respond to protests in Hong Kong, but it's unclear what it will take to trigger them

Almost one year to the day when thousands of young protesters smashed their way into Hong Kong's local government building over plans for closer legal integration with mainland China, Beijing is moving to finalise a law far more expansive and restrictive, writes China correspondent Bill Birtles. → Read More

Victoria's coronavirus spike is similar to one in Beijing. But their responses are different

Victoria is a few weeks behind Beijing in experiencing a new spike in coronavirus cases. Authorities in the Chinese capital took swift action to stop their outbreak turning into the country's second wave of infections. → Read More

Karm Gilespie's lawyer reveals Australian made to wait five years for death sentence after trial

An Australian man sentenced to death in Guangzhou for drug trafficking was made to wait five years in prison between his two-day trial and sentencing, his Guangzhou-based lawyer confirms. → Read More

Australian sentenced to death in China for drug trafficking honest to a fault, friends say

Friends of Karm Gilespie, the Australian sentenced to death in China, are organising a public appeal, with some saying they had no idea he was locked in a Chinese prison for the past six and a half years. → Read More

This is what Hong Kong could look like under China's explosive new national security law

For two decades, Beijing has been frustrated by widespread popular opposition to national security laws in Hong Kong. But six months of mass protests against closer legal ties to the mainland appear to have convinced Xi Jinping that winning local support is futile, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

China's annual Congress underway after coronavirus forces two month delay

Despite the lingering threat of coronavirus, China's political representatives gather in Beijing for its most important political event of the year. → Read More

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, China forces out foreign reporters

Chris Buckley spent 76 days in Wuhan during the coronavirus crisis reporting for the New York Times. He now joins an increasingly large group of foreign journalists asked to leave the country he's spent years covering. → Read More

Chinese activists fear coronavirus wet market restrictions will drive live animal trade underground

Chinese animal rights activists who have sounded the alarm for years about the risks of the country's live animal trade fear new coronavirus rules will push the wild meat industry underground. → Read More

Xi Jinping has every reason to support the World Health Organisation, given China's been using it to counter US criticism

Donald Trump's efforts to blame China and the World Health Organisation for the US's tragically inadequate preparation for the virus was inevitable — China and the WHO's legacy on COVID-19 are already deeply intertwined, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

Wuhan is beginning to lift its coronavirus restrictions but some still fear another wave of COVID-19 infections

It has taken 76 days, but the city where the devastating coronavirus pandemic all started is finally ending its lockdown. But this is not a return to normal and residents aren't exactly celebrating just yet. → Read More

China's economic recovery from coronavirus could be ugly — and that's bad news for the rest of the world

China says it has effectively contained the coronavirus outbreak and now it's trying to reboot its economy. But for the first time in more than 40 years, the second-largest economy in the world could be about to shrink, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

Coronavirus COVID-19 has been aggressively contained in China. So can Australia learn from Xi Jinping's tactics?

Seven weeks and counting of restrictions in Hubei province have left many residents bored, anxious and depressed. But the Government's measures do appear to have worked in terms of stalling the outbreak in China, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

Coronavirus quarantine is no fun, but isolation in China's epicentre is becoming desperate

My coronavirus quarantine is causing drama in my Beijing apartment building, but I really feel for the Australians trapped in the epicentre of the outbreak with no escape in sight, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

South Korea's approach to coronavirus COVID-19 could be putting millions at risk and things could be worse if it spreads to the North

It's facing the worst coronavirus outbreak beyond China and yet South Korea still appears to be seemingly relaxed about the situation in Daegu. And it could spell disaster for those across the border. → Read More

Coronavirus restrictions have limited Chinese social life. So isolated residents are taking part in virtual dance parties

Across a normally bustling nation of 1.4 billion people, streets are empty and most restaurants are closed as the coronavirus quarantine drags on. But online, it's a different story. → Read More

Xi Jinping talks of victory over coronavirus but he's facing a big dilemma over Beijing's political event of the year

Having already changed China's constitution so he can rule indefinitely and having locked up political rivals in a corruption purge, Xi Jinping is now facing an invisible enemy that can't be muted with censorship, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More

China limps into new lunar year, with small businesses hit by coronavirus lockdown

Across Beijing and in cities around China, many small shops run by out-of-towners remain locked up — transport restrictions and official advice to stay home dissuading them from travelling back to work. → Read More

The question I get asked the most: How much of what China is reporting on coronavirus is actually true?

Almost 17 years after the Chinese Government's disastrous cover-up of the SARS outbreak, there are concerns history could be repeating itself, writes China correspondent Bill Birtles. → Read More

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen's landslide re-election a massive blow to Xi Jinping

China's Government has made little effort to conceal its dislike of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, and her landslide re-election is a massive blow to Xi Jinping, writes Bill Birtles. → Read More