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Chermaine Lee

Berlin, Germany
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About Chermaine
Chermaine Lee is a multimedia journalist based in Hong Kong. She covers political, human rights, environmental and social issues locally and internationally. Her bylines appear on the Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Thomson Reuters, BuzzFeed, South China Morning Post, Deutsche Welle, Hong Kong Free Press, among others.

My online portfolio: www.chermainelee.com
German English Chinese (Mandarin)
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Politics Current Affairs Technology

COP27: Inside India's struggle to reach net zero

13 May 2024  |  www.fairplanet.org
India's commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2070, as pledged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26, is under scrutiny at COP27. Despite Modi's absence, the focus is on India's progress towards its five-part green pledge. The country's economic survey indicates a growing demand for coal, suggesting an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. While the government has auctioned coal mines and plans to adhere to new emission standards, the majority of the industry has yet to comply. India's renewable energy capacity is currently far from the 2030 target of 500 gigawatts. Small steps by public sector units and increased budget expenditures for renewable energy agencies show progress, but critics argue that afforestation efforts may not be effective due to high population density. India is expected to address these concerns and provide updated green targets at COP27.

Analysts See New EU Rules Hurting China Exports, Further Straining Ties

04 Apr 2024  |  voanews.com
New draft regulations by the European Union aimed at protecting the bloc's economy and preventing sensitive technology from reaching geopolitical rivals are expected to impact Chinese exports and further strain EU-China relations. The regulations include export controls, foreign investment screening in the tech sector, and security for sensitive research. Chinese investment in Europe has declined, and the EU is increasingly cautious about security risks from countries like China and Russia. China has urged the EU to treat its enterprises fairly and be cautious with restrictive policies. The EU's stance is influenced by security concerns and the desire to reduce dependence on third countries, as highlighted by the European Parliament's resolution on China's influence on critical infrastructure.

COP28 Deal a ‘Disappointing’ Win, Experts and Activists Say

04 Apr 2024  |  voanews.com
The COP28 climate conference in Dubai concluded with a deal to reduce fossil fuel use, but faced criticism for its limited scope, particularly the 'phase-down of unabated coal power' and 'phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.' Despite a push from the G20 for renewable energy and energy efficiency, experts and activists found the language weak. Controversies arose over the involvement of fossil fuel lobbyists and the adequacy of financial commitments from developed nations to support vulnerable countries' transition to renewable energy. The U.S. pledged $24.5 million to a loss and damage fund, while the EU and UAE led efforts to raise over $700 million, falling short of the annual $100 billion promised to assist the Global South.

China, Biggest AC Producer, Snubs Global Pledge at COP28

09 Dec 2023  |  voanews.com
Over 60 countries signed a pledge at COP28 to reduce cooling-related carbon emissions by 68% by 2050, but China, the world's largest air conditioner producer, did not join due to perceived accountability issues in previous agreements. China's National Green Cooling Action Plan aims to improve energy efficiency of cooling products and public buildings by 2030. Despite not signing the pledge, China agreed to enhance air conditioner energy efficiency and phase down hydrofluorocarbons with the U.S. China's reliance on coal and the frequency of new coal plant permits pose challenges to reducing emissions. The country is also exploring passive cooling and decentralized cooling systems to manage future heatwaves and reduce cooling demand.

Gaza War Tensions Spill Over to COP28 Climate Talks

05 Dec 2023  |  Voice of America
The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has impacted the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, with demonstrations expressing solidarity with Palestinians and criticizing Israeli military actions. The Palestinian delegation highlighted their vulnerability to climate change, emphasizing the need for climate justice alongside the protection of human lives. Climate activists and world leaders have echoed these sentiments. However, Israeli representatives argue for separating climate issues from geopolitical conflicts. The U.N. has reported that Israeli occupation and blockade have hindered Palestinian climate adaptation efforts, while some activists stress the importance of focusing on global climate solutions even during times of conflict.

Hong Kong's 'Shoebox' Residents Struggle Amid Sweltering Heat, Cramped Living Conditions

05 Oct 2023  |  www.voanews.com
In Hong Kong's poorest district, residents like Szeto endure extreme heat in cramped, sub-divided flats, exacerbated by high utility costs and poor ventilation. The city's severe heat waves, attributed to global warming, have worsened the housing crisis, with many residents living in conditions smaller than prison cells. Social worker Esther Wu highlights the additional financial burden on tenants, while local NGOs report temperatures inside these units significantly higher than outside. Despite government efforts to provide heat shelters, their limited operation hours offer little relief to those in inadequate housing.

Green jobs remain elusive for young Filipinos

01 Oct 2023  |  Climate Tracker Asia
Young Filipinos face challenges in securing green jobs despite a strong interest in environmental careers. The Green Jobs Act, signed in 2016, aims to promote employment that supports environmental sustainability, but its implementation has been slow and ineffective. Key obstacles include high capital costs, limited access to technology, and a lack of awareness about climate change. The International Labor Organization and other agencies have made efforts to promote green jobs, but progress remains limited. Students like Anne Parojinog and James Edward Dizon are considering further studies abroad due to the uncertain job market in the Philippines. Experts emphasize the need for better leadership and specific guidelines to make the Green Jobs Act more effective.

Vienna Leads in Gender-Sensitive Urban Planning

23 May 2023  |  VOA Indonesia
Vienna, known for its classical music and rich history, is also recognized for its progressive gender-sensitive urban planning. The city, predominantly designed by men, began to incorporate women's needs into public space design in the 1990s. Sabina Riss, a gender-sensitive urban planning lecturer at Vienna University of Technology, highlights the consequences of male-dominated planning. Eva Kail's office has launched over 60 projects since 1991, considering women's needs, including the first public housing in Europe designed by women for women in 1995. Architect Franziska Ullman, one of the winners of the design competition, created the Frauen-Werk-Stadt complex with wider entrances and safety considerations. Vienna's initiatives have inspired other cities like Barcelona and Berlin to redesign public spaces with gender inclusivity in mind.

Vienna Sets Trend in Gender-Friendly City Planning

11 May 2023  |  voanews.com
Vienna, Austria, recognized as the most livable city by The Economist, is leading the way in gender-inclusive urban design.

The married couples in Hong Kong who live apart

05 Apr 2023  |  www.bbc.com
The article discusses the growing trend of married couples living apart in Hong Kong due to the region's extremely unaffordable housing market. Lam Lok and Jason Chau, a couple who met working at Disneyland, are highlighted as an example of this phenomenon, living over an hour apart and only seeing each other and their daughter on weekends. The article cites government data showing a significant number of young couples cohabiting with parents or living separately. It also touches on the long waiting times for public housing and the impact of housing affordability on family planning and demographics. The piece includes personal stories of other couples in similar situations and comments on the emotional and relational challenges they face due to their living arrangements.

Japan’s energy transition scheme: wholesale greenwashing?

01 Mar 2023  |  www.fairplanet.org
Japan announced a $1 trillion aid package to ASEAN countries for a clean energy transition, but critics label it as greenwashing. The plan includes renewable energy projects alongside natural gas, ammonia, and hydrogen, which are seen as loopholes. Environmentalists argue that renewable options are cheaper and that Japan's plan delays genuine decarbonization efforts. Critics also highlight the ineffectiveness and high cost of carbon capture and storage technology. Japan's domestic energy strategy includes a mix of renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels, with a push for nuclear energy raising concerns due to past nuclear disasters. Experts call for Japan to phase out coal and focus on energy efficiency and renewables.

Experts See Environmental Risk from China’s Small Island BRI Efforts

27 Nov 2022  |  voanews.com
China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) investments in small island nations pose environmental risks, particularly to those vulnerable to climate change impacts. Despite these nations contributing less to climate change, they face severe consequences, such as Tuvalu's sinking and Caribbean nations' increased economic damage from cyclones. Environmental controversies have arisen, such as a nickel spill in Papua New Guinea by the Metallurgical Corporation of China and the removal of mangroves in Antigua and Barbuda by YIDA International. The BRI's potential to increase carbon emissions has led to the formation of the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition by the UN. China has promoted a green BRI, urging adherence to international environmental standards and establishing climate information centers. However, reports indicate that BRI projects lack focus on climate change adaptation for small islands, and the green BRI structure relies on voluntary self-governance. Experts emphasize the need for accountability and incorporation of mitigation and adaptation into BRI projects.

China Says It Won't Pay Into Climate Fund for Developing Countries

16 Nov 2022  |  www.voanews.com
China has announced it will not contribute to a climate loss and damage fund for developing nations, despite being the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. This decision comes after small island nations called for major emitters like China and India to contribute to the fund at COP27. China's climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, stated that while China supports the mechanism, it is not obliged to contribute financially. Historically, China has been categorized as a developing nation in climate discussions, but its significant emissions in recent decades have led to increased pressure for it to contribute. Experts note that China is shifting its role to that of a donor country, having established significant climate funds in recent years. However, domestic challenges and geopolitical tensions, particularly with the United States, are likely to influence China's climate policies and international contributions.

Cultural Masseur Festival 2022

23 Feb 2022  |  Cultural Masseur Festival 文化按摩師藝術節 2022
The Cultural Masseur Festival 2022, co-organized by the Hong Kong Arts Centre and Dharma Drum Mountain Hong Kong, features a cross-disciplinary open experience that responds to the present. The festival includes a 'City Zen' event at Hong Kong Park, offering a tea and Zen experience to cultivate the mind through tea, walking meditation, and singing bowl sessions, aiming to awaken the five senses and experience inner peace. The festival also explores the symbolic meaning of 'zero' from three different perspectives, questioning the normality of life's 'laws' compared to the mathematical certainty that multiplying anything by zero equals zero.

Hong Kong: First person charged under national security law found guilty on two charges

27 Jul 2021  |  cnn.com
Tong Ying-kit, the first person tried under Hong Kong's national security law, was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism, facing life in prison. His actions during a protest were deemed a deliberate challenge against the police. The trial, which was held without a jury, is seen as a test for the implementation of the controversial law. Critics argue that the conviction is evidence of Beijing's increasing control over Hong Kong, with the judicial system being used to suppress dissent. The Hong Kong government defends the law as necessary for stability and prosperity.

First person charged under Hong Kong national security law

27 Jul 2021  |  KRDO
The first person tried under Hong Kong's national security law, Tong Ying-kit, was found guilty of inciting secession and terrorism, facing life imprisonment. The case, seen as a test for the new law, involved Tong crashing his motorcycle into police and carrying a protest banner. The trial, held without a jury, has raised concerns about Beijing's influence over Hong Kong's legal system. Critics argue the law suppresses free expression and political dissent, while the Hong Kong government defends it as necessary for stability.

Young Taiwanese investors drive rapid growth of ETF market

09 Apr 2021  |  ft.com
Taiwan's ETF market has experienced significant growth, particularly among young investors, with 27% of investors in their 20s holding ETFs. The onshore ETF market size increased by 135% to NT$1.7tn by the end of 2020. Younger Taiwanese are influenced by online investment gurus and are turning to thematic ETF products. Despite the rapid expansion, local bond ETFs faced a decline amid currency appreciation and tighter regulations.

Hong Kong protests: chef at PolyU siege recalls trauma of cooking for more than 1,000 protesters before being taken to hospital

10 Nov 2020  |  www.scmp.com
A chef, Zie, recounts his experience cooking for over 1,000 protesters during the PolyU siege in Hong Kong. He volunteered to support the anti-government movement by providing food, despite the challenges of dwindling help and sleep deprivation. Zie, who previously participated in the umbrella movement, faced personal losses including his marriage and job due to his political stance. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a deep depression, he now plans to start a business to support fellow anti-government protesters.

‘I will die with the city’: A young woman’s chilling message from Hong Kong’s front lines

24 Oct 2019  |  Washington Post
The article focuses on the personal story of a 21-year-old college student, referred to by the alias 'Alexa,' who is actively participating in the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Despite the risks, including police brutality and the potential for sexual assault, Alexa is determined to fight for democracy and against the increasing crackdowns by Beijing-backed authorities. The protests, which began over an extradition bill, have evolved into a broader movement demanding universal suffrage and an investigation into police actions. The article highlights the heavy-handed police response, the role of women in the protests, and the government's refusal to consider political liberalization. Alexa's commitment to the cause is underscored by her willingness to face arrest and her resolve to stay and fight for her city's future.

Hong Kong dating scam: sales agents pose as dates to sell services and earn a commission

10 Jul 2019  |  South China Morning Post
In Hong Kong, sales agents are posing as potential dates to lure individuals into purchasing unnecessary goods and services. Victims like Macy and Pammy have encountered such deceptive practices, which not only lead to financial losses but also psychological harm. Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, treasurer of the Democratic Party, has assisted over 200 victims who lost more than HK$10 million to online scams. The Hong Kong Consumer Council received numerous complaints about aggressive sales practices in beauty services, and the government is considering a statutory cooling-off period for contracts in the beauty and fitness sectors. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau has received complaints about aggressive commercial practices, and the Hong Kong Police Force and Customs and Excise Department are involved in handling such scams.

Many of Hong Kong’s migrant domestic workers face low wages, poor accommodation and – oftentimes – abuse and debt bondage. With families to support back home, some are forced to make tough choices.

Cheung Muk-gun’s home is an illegal, wooden shack under a highway in one of the poorest areas of Hong Kong, where sky-high property prices and a yawning wealth gap have helped fuel a surge in homelessness.

HK's human genome editing summit a timely affair after claim of gene-edited babies

27 Jun 2019  |  www.bioworld.com
The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong highlighted the industry leaders' and regulators' concerns over the lack of cross-border regulations and coordination on genetic editing, particularly regarding gene editing on embryos.

Massive protests in Hong Kong against extradition bill

10 Jun 2019  |  CNN
Over 1 million protesters, according to organizers, demonstrated in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill that would allow China to extradite fugitives from the city. The protest, which is the largest since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, has sparked criticism from various sectors including the business community and international governments such as the United States and the European Union. The Hong Kong government argues the bill is necessary to close legal loopholes, but opponents fear it will compromise the city's semi-autonomous legal system and endanger individuals for political reasons. The protest was mostly peaceful but turned violent overnight. The bill has also drawn international attention, with protests in Australia and statements from global political groups. Despite the opposition, the Hong Kong government plans to resume debate on the bill on June 12.

This Woman Is Running To Save The Love Of Her Life

07 Jun 2019  |  www.buzzfeednews.com
Zheng Churan has embarked on a 6,200-mile running campaign to raise awareness for her husband Wei Zhili's incarceration by Chinese authorities. Wei, a journalist and labor activist, was detained for 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble,' a charge Zheng herself faced in 2015 as part of the 'Feminist Five.' Despite suffering from anxiety and PTSD from her own detention, Zheng is using social media to document her journey and has gained support from followers and fellow runners. Her efforts highlight the ongoing crackdown on labor activists and the personal toll of China's repressive measures against dissent.

In a spiral of despair

19 Feb 2019  |  South China Morning Post
The article discusses the issue of homelessness in Hong Kong, focusing on the gender disparity among the homeless population. It highlights that men make up nearly 90% of the city's homeless, often due to pride and societal expectations. Social workers like Ng Wai-tung from SoCo and activists such as Shiu Ka-chun are advocating for more support and shelter options for the homeless. The article also touches on the mental health challenges faced by the homeless, with a significant portion suffering from mental illnesses. The University of Hong Kong study cited in the article suggests that the healthcare system has barriers that prevent homeless individuals from receiving adequate mental health services. The article includes personal stories from individuals like Wong and May, who have experienced homelessness and the associated challenges.

Climate change is bad for your mental health – and the situation will only get worse

10 Oct 2018  |  South China Morning Post
Climate change is exacerbating mental health issues in Hong Kong, particularly for those with eczema and the elderly. Rising temperatures and humidity levels are linked to increased hospital admissions for mental disorders. The city's high humidity and pollution levels further contribute to mental health problems. The demand for psychiatric services is rising, but there is a shortage of psychiatrists. The elderly are especially vulnerable, with dementia cases expected to increase as the population ages. Precautionary measures are recommended to mitigate the effects of hot weather on mental health.

Why do people love hentai, Japanese anime porn? In Hong Kong, suppressed sexual desire and interest in Japanese culture play a part

29 Aug 2018  |  South China Morning Post
The popularity of hentai, a subgenre of Japanese anime porn, in Hong Kong is attributed to suppressed sexual desire and an interest in Japanese culture. Experts like Katrien Jacobs and Jason Ho Ka-hang suggest that the conservative nature of Hong Kong society and the fascination with manga and anime contribute to this trend. Concerns are raised about the impact of pornography on young people's sexual knowledge and relationships, with inadequate sex education in schools and the prevalence of unrealistic portrayals of sex. The article discusses the need for better sex education to help differentiate between fantasy and reality and to promote healthy sexual relationships.

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