Emily Feng

Beijing has signaled it will push through sweeping national security legislation for Hong Kong, its most aggressive effort yet to exert its control over the semi-autonomous city since it was returned to Chinese control in 1997.

For months, South Korea has been praised as a model and a beacon of hope for the world in its desperate fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In early February, China's ruling Communist Party was facing one of its biggest political crises in more than three decades. A rapidly spreading outbreak of the new coronavirus was a "massive risk and challenge" to social stability, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned top party officials in an internal speech that was later published publicly.

China's leaders have declared the coronavirus outbreak largely under control within its borders. Now, the authorities are working to control the narrative of how the country contained the virus by questioning and even detaining people who might possess information that challenges the official line.

Those being questioned include Internet-savvy archivists; families and their legal counsel suing the state for damages from the coronavirus epidemic; and even lauded volunteers who staffed critical emergency services from the epicenter city of Wuhan.

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

More than two months after he watched his father die of the new coronavirus, Zhang Hai has yet to bury him. The 50-year-old Wuhan native wants to pay his last respects alone — but that's now against government rules.

"[My father's] work unit called and made it very clear that I have to be accompanied when I retrieve the ashes," Zhang recalled. "Maybe they are well-intentioned, but I just want to collect my father's ashes alone before burying him. I do not want to have strangers around."

Tens of thousands of people streamed out of Wuhan by car, train and plane after a 76-day lockdown was lifted Wednesday from the Chinese city where the global coronavirus pandemic began.

Beijing's parks are an oasis in an otherwise dense and sprawling city. They provide a rare public space for people to ribbon dance, play checkers and practice tai chi. But in January and February, they were deserted. More than 80,000 people across China were sickened with the virus and strict quarantine measures locked down villages and cities, including Beijing.

In February, China's leader Xi Jinping declared himself the "supreme commander" in a war against the new coronavirus. But the public face of China's efforts to contain the outbreak is not Xi: it is an 83-year-old, weight-lifting doctor.

Dr. Zhong Nanshan has long been a household name in China. The pulmonologist holds no formal office — but over the past three months has become the face of China's virus containment efforts, cutting through public confusion and online disinformation about SARS-CoV-2.

A spate of mysterious second-time infections is calling into question the accuracy of COVID-19 diagnostic tools even as China prepares to lift quarantine measures to allow residents to leave the epicenter of its outbreak next month. It's also raising concerns of a possible second wave of cases.

China now makes 200 million face masks a day — more than twenty times the amount it made at the start of February. The leap has been spurred by the outbreak of a new coronavirus. The masks include the lightweight ones that people like to wear in the hope of protection against coronavirus as well as the heavy-duty N95 masks used by health-care workers.

But that's still not nearly enough to meet local demands as well as global orders. So a scramble is now underway in China.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As new cases of coronavirus infection slow in China, the country is gradually getting back to work. Authorities and businesses are taking a range of measures: Local governments are chartering buses for workers. Some companies are buying out entire hotels to house quarantined staff. A temporarily shuttered movie studio is even loaning employees to factories that are short on labor.

Now that the spread of COVID-19 appears to be under control, China's vast economy is slowly returning to work.

Victor Yu is not one of the more than 2,500 people who the Chinese government says were killed by the coronavirus. The 47-year-old resident of Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak, died Feb. 19 from complications related to renal carcinoma, a common type of kidney cancer. But his family believes that his untimely death is likely related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

A well-known Hong Kong bookseller who published critical and sometimes titillating volumes about Chinese leaders and who disappeared in China more than two years ago has been quietly sentenced to a decade in prison for passing on intelligence to people overseas.

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

A well-known publisher of political texts in China has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegally passing intelligence to unspecified people overseas. It's a complicated story, and NPR's Emily Feng brought it to us.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

China has put more than half a billion people under partial or total lockdown in what it is calling an all-out "people's war" against the spread of the new coronavirus. It's equivalent to restricting the movement of the entire population of North America.

More than a month and a half into the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, the country's economy is still largely in lockdown mode, stalling a global manufacturing powerhouse at the heart of nearly every industrial supply chain. As the crisis continues, businesses big and small are struggling with the disruption the pneumonia-like illness has caused, with effects reaching across the globe.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

China's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it is canceling the visas of three journalists working for The Wall Street Journal after what it said was a racist headline that appeared on an opinion piece about the coronavirus epidemic earlier this month.

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

The director of a hospital in Wuhan, China, has died of COVID-19. His is one of the most high-profile deaths from the coronavirus disease. The World Health Organization says China has had more than 70,000 cases.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Prominent Chinese legal activist and civil rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong has been detained in southern China, after spending nearly two months on the run as he taunted Chinese authorities and encouraged his followers through a steady stream of political commentary posted on social media and his personal blog.

China's Hubei province expanded its criteria for identifying new coronavirus infections on Thursday, causing a dramatic spike in reported cases at the epicenter of the disease, as Beijing moved to purge provincial party officials amid criticism of their handling of the epidemic.

For the last two weeks, Eden Chen had been glued to her WeChat. A resident of the Chinese coastal city of Wenzhou, Chen and her family had been told to stay indoors, sending only one member out every other day to buy groceries. WeChat, the ubiquitous social media app in China, became an indispensable channel for checking up on relatives, exchanging information about quarantine measures and even getting on a waiting list to order now-scarce face masks.

China says it has launched an investigation into "issues" related to the death on Friday of a doctor whose early efforts to alert his colleagues to the dangers of a new coronavirus were quashed by authorities.

Meanwhile, President Trump spoke with China's leader Xi Jinping to discuss the coronavirus epidemic, which has rapidly gone global since it began in China in December.

Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist working in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the epidemic originated, died on Friday local time, weeks after he was hospitalized and treated for a coronavirus infection.

Updated at 8:41 p.m. ET

Millions of people in China have been returning home from the Lunar New Year holiday and heading back to work. The holiday's end date was extended in many cities, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, to help slow down the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Updated at 8:37 p.m. ET

As the number of coronavirus cases in China jumped dramatically once again on Thursday — to more than 31,000 — other countries where the new strain of viral pneumonia has spread are stepping up efforts to limit the epidemic.

Health authorities in China on Friday reported 31,211 confirmed cases there, with 637 people having died from the virus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, that was first identified in December. Nearly 200 other cases have appeared outside of China and Hong Kong, with one additional death, in the Philippines.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

First came Liu Xiaohong's fever and a constant, throbbing ache. Then six days later, on Jan. 31 and with her fever still raging, Liu desperately rushed by bike to the nearest hospital; taxi services had been suspended days earlier as part of a citywide lockdown.

Doctors did a CT scan of Liu's lungs and concluded that day that she likely had the new coronavirus. Twelve days after falling ill, Liu is now waiting in a makeshift isolation ward for confirmation from a virus screening test so she can finally be admitted to a hospital.

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.

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