Ms Mei Fong
China Correspondent, Wall Street Journal
Mei Fong, based in Beijing, is a reporter with The Wall Street Journal's China bureau. She writes extensively about China's labor issues and the country's transformative process in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, looking widely as issues ranging from China's massive infrastructural spending to the plight of construction workers and anti-spitting campaigns. She was part of a team of seven awarded the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting in 2007.
Her story about a group of construction workers involved in Beijing's round-the-clock pre-Olympic building boom was a story of Dickensian deprivation--part of the Pulitzer-winning series---was also singled out for the Amnesty International Human Rights Press Award as well as awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia. A story about a Chinese doctor who sued a polluting factory that was dumping cancer-causing elements into the water also formed part of the Pulitzer-prize winning package, which on the whole dwelled on the tensions resulting from China's raucous new capitalism, reminiscent of the robber barons in America's Industrial Revolution a century ago.
A Malaysian, Ms. Fong started off her journalism career in Singapore as a crime reporter at tabloid The New Paper. During her tenure at the paper, she also wrote about regional issues such as the environmental devastation wrought by Indonesia's forest fires and the political turmoil in Muslim Malaysia resulting from the sacking of then-deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy. A series she wrote on gambling and criminal underworld in Macau was awarded a Singapore Press Holdings award for excellence in journalism.
She joined the Wall Street Journal in 2001, writing about the ravages of 9-11 on New York city, often filing reports from a City Hall broom closet because the newspaper was not a metro paper and did not have an assigned spot in the press room. One of the pieces she wrote, highlighting the plight of Chinatown workers who lost their jobs after 9-11 but were left out of aid packages catering to far-wealthier New Yorkers, helped change aid policies towards victims.
In 2003 she moved to Hong Kong and became the city's correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, covering among other issues SARS, Hong Kong's democracy marches of 2003 and bird flu. Ms. Fong is also remembered as the reporter who bluntly asked Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee Hwa on-air "Did Beijing ask for your resignation? Were you pushed out?" during a press conference to announce the beleaguered leader's early resignation.
Ms. Fong received a master's degree in international relations from Columbia University and is a graduate of the National University of Singapore with a joint degree in psychology and English literature with a scholarship from the Singapore Press Holdings Corp. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Bahasa and English.