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Nikkei Asian Review scoops 2 SOPA awards

HONG KONG -- The Nikkei Asian Review received a pair of journalism prizes on Wednesday from the Hong Kong-based Society of Publishers in Asia, or SOPA.

Minxin Pei

Commentaries by Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in the U.S. and a Shanghai native, won the award for excellence in opinion writing at SOPA's annual gala. Amid last year's market turmoil, Pei contributed sharply written pieces on China's economic challenges and offered potential solutions. In one article, he looked at how a potential hard landing could speed up badly needed reforms and deflate Beijing's geopolitical ambitions.

The panel of judges, made up of veteran journalists and scholars, commended Pei for his "lucid and unbiased analysis" of some of the key issues facing China, from state-owned enterprise reform to air pollution.

A story package titled "Praying for rain," which appeared in the Nikkei Asian Review magazine, garnered an honorable mention for excellence in environmental reporting. The package, which included on-the-ground reporting in drought-stricken farming regions alongside in-depth analysis, documented how extreme weather conditions are threatening Asia's rice bowl and people's livelihoods.

Senior Managing Director of Nikkei Inc. and Editor-in-Chief of The Nikkei Tsuyoshi Hasebe said: "We are honored to receive this award for the second consecutive year. We are confident that this will be a major step for the Nikkei Asian Review as it solidifies its reputation as an internationally competitive news media."

Established in 1999, the SOPA awards are regarded as a benchmark for quality journalism in Asia. This year, Chinese- and English-language media organizations -- international, regional and local alike -- competed in 18 categories. 

Taiwan's former President Ma Ying-jeou had been scheduled to attend the ceremony and give the keynote speech. The island's new government, however, barred him from traveling to Hong Kong, citing national security concerns and the sensitive nature of the territory. Ma delivered his address on cross-strait relations via video conferencing instead.

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