Lianhe Zaobao / Zaobao Sunday
联合早报 / 早报星期天
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)SPH Media
PublisherSPH Media
EditorGoh Sin Teck
Founded16 March 1983; 41 years ago (1983-03-16) (merger between the Singaporean editions of Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Jit Poh)
(15,081 issues)
HeadquartersToa Payoh, Singapore
Circulation136,900 (Print+Digital as of 2021)[1] Edit this at Wikidata

Nanyang Sin-Chew Lianhe Zaobao,[a] commonly abbreviated as Lianhe Zaobao,[b] is the largest Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper with a daily circulation of about 136,900 (print and digital) as of 2021.[2] Published by SPH Media (formerly Singapore Press Holdings), it was formed on 16 March 1983 as a result of a merger between the Singaporean editions of Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Jit Poh, two of Singapore's oldest Chinese newspapers.[3]

The paper establishes itself as a broadsheet with local news coverage, while international news tend to be largely centred on the East Asia region, with a section dedicated to China. Zaobao has an East Asian correspondent network spanning Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo. It is SPH's flagship Chinese daily and the only Chinese-language daily in Singapore.[4] Lianhe Zaobao is the only Chinese-language overseas newspaper which can be purchased in major cities of mainland China.[4] As with all Chinese-language publications currently based in Singapore, the paper is printed in Simplified Chinese.


In 1974, after the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act was passed in Singapore, the Singapore branch of Sin Chew Jit Poh was reorganised into a public entity under the name Sin Chew Jit Poh (Singapore), while the Singapore edition of Nanyang Siang Pau became owned by Nanyang Press Singapore.[5] The two Chinese broadsheets in Singapore merged in March 1983 in anticipation of the impending falling readership, due to English being taught as first language in Singaporean schools.[6] The merger led to the formation of Singapore News and Publications, which published the morning paper Lianhe Zaobao as well as the evening paper Lianhe Wanbao. Lianhe Zaobao was the most read newspaper in Singapore among all English and Chinese newspapers, according to a survey conducted by Survey Research Singapore in 1983, with a readership of 689,000 on weekdays and 743,000 on Sundays.[7] On 4 August 1984, the company merged with The Straits Times Press Group and Times Publishing Berhad to form Singapore Press Holdings.[8]

From 8 September 2016, the portal also presents news from two other Singapore Press Holdings Chinese-language newspapers, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News.[9] According to The Washington Post, "Zaobao's combined print and digital circulation in Singapore fell from 187,900 in 2015 to 144,000 in 2020, according to company filings."[4]

According to a 2021 study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, the paper has a weekly offline reach of 8% and online reach of 7% in Singapore.[10]

Editorial stance

Zaobao is regarded as pro-Beijing by Western media outlets.⁣[11] The newspaper has included articles from pro-Beijing sources such as People's Daily,[12] HK01, Ming Pao, Global Times,[13] China Times and United Daily News.[14] It is one of the few foreign newspapers allowed in China, where foreign media is tightly controlled.[15] According to Radio Free Asia, content about the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre has been censored from the Zaobao website when accessed from Hong Kong.[16]

A 2019 study by Scotland-based researcher Daniel Hammond found that Zaobao played the role of "China’s critical friend in Southeast Asia", using the region as a means to deliver its concerns and criticisms of the country's actions such as on the South China Sea, while covering the China-Singapore relationship in an overwhelmingly positive manner.[17]

In July 2023, The Washington Post reported that the paper had taken a more pro-Beijing stance by creating a China-specific version of the website to avoid having its website blocked in China.[4] Zaobao issued a rebuttal in response to the WaPo article, stressing that it maintained journalistic neutrality and independence.[14] Singapore's ambassador to the US Lui Tuck Yew also responded by saying that in his former role as Singaporean Ambassador to China, he often heard Zaobao’s readers of various nationalities affirm the paper’s balanced coverage and uniquely Singaporean viewpoints, adding that it was "misguided for American news outlets to expect Zaobao to resemble the Washington Post, or for Singapore to follow either the United States or China."[18][19]

At the September 2023 centennial celebration of the newspaper, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong said he was "heartened that Zaobao has been unwavering in its principles, and has remained independent and objective in its news reporting." He added it was "critical for Zaobao to maintain a clear editorial stance and have sufficient independent content, so that it can continue to speak for Singapore and safeguard our interests."[20]



The paper is published daily by SPH and usually hits newsstands and homes by 5 am local time. Zaobao is currently published in three segments. The first comprises breaking news (焦点新闻) and local news under ZaobaoSINGAPORE (早报新加坡). The second comprises ZaobaoChina (早报中国), the sports section (早报体育), obituaries, the daily editorial, commentaries, letters to the press, other international news from the ASEAN, followed by a finance section ZaobaoBUSINESS (早报财经). A supplementary lifestyle, arts and entertainment segment is named zbNOW (早报现在) with classified advertising at the back of that segment.[citation needed]

The Sunday edition is titled zbSunday (早报星期天), with a tabloid-format lifestyle supplement pull-out zbWeekly (早报周刊).

Zaobao Digital

The newspaper is available in Southeast Asia, China, Hong Kong as well as organisations such as the United Nations. The online version of the paper was launched in August 1995 under the name of "Lianhe Zaobao Online". It serves as a news portal drawing news not just from the Lianhe Zaobao, but also from other Chinese newspapers in the region, numbering as much as 100 sources in total.[citation needed] A large proportion of Lianhe Zaobao's daily readership is derived from China, with the official website cites a monthly online readership of 4 million originating from China.[21] is targeted at audiences in Greater China, while (re-launched in September 2016) targets local and non-China readers.[22] is an online portal hosting several publications targeted at students such as zbCOMMA (早报逗号), Thumbs Up (大拇指), Thumbs Up Junior (小拇指) and Thumbs Up Little Junior (小小拇指). zbCOMMA is targeted at secondary school students, Thumbs Up at upper primary students, Thumbs Up Junior at lower primary students and Thumbs Up Little Junior at kindergarten students.

zbCOMMA used to be known as Friday Weekly (星期5周报) before its revamp on 7 January 2009. It consists of follow-ups on news on Lianhe Zaobao, articles written by Zaobao reporters and blurbs for Zaobao news that serve to connect students with Zaobao.[23]

Thumbs Up reports both international and local news. It has a section with mock examination questions to help students prepare for examinations. Thumbs Up promotes arts education by featuring art pieces selected by local artistic guides. It also has a section for fun and games, which features Chinese comics contributed by readers, as well as a weekly cartoon story on the mascot of the paper.

Blocking in China

The Zaobao online website is occasionally blocked in mainland China, or has its posts removed on Sina Weibo.[24] In 2009, the Zaobao website was temporarily blocked in China, analysts in China believed it was likely related to an article Lianhe Zaobao ran headlined "Cyber Crackdown in China Angers Netizens" which sparked the temporary ban, as discourse against the Chinese government is often censored in Mainland China.[25] The paper was again reportedly blocked in 2017 with no official reasons cited.[26]

See also

Print sources


  1. ^ Chinese: 南洋·星洲联合早报; pinyin: Nányáng Xīngzhoū Liánhé Zǎobào; Wade–Giles: Nan2-yang2 Hsing1-chou1 Lien2-ho4 Tsao3-pao4; literally "Nanyang Sin-Chew Joint Morning Paper"
  2. ^ 联合早报; Liánhé Zǎobào; Lien2-ho2 Tsao3-pao4; literally "Joint Morning Paper"


  1. ^ "Transforming SPH A New Chapter" (PDF). Singapore Press Holdings. 27 October 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Daily Average Newspapers Circulation" (PDF). Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 January 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 17 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c d Mahtani, Shibani; Chandradas, Amrita. "In Singapore, loud echoes of Beijing's positions generate anxiety". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  5. ^ George, Cherian (2012). Freedom from the press : journalism and state power in Singapore. Singapore: NUS Press. ISBN 978-9971-69-605-4. OCLC 809317607.
  6. ^ "From Lat Pau to Zaobao: A History of Chinese Newspapers". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Zaobao has the biggest readership, says survey". Singapore Monitor. 28 October 1983. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Formation of Singapore Press Holdings - Singapore History". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Upsized is your Essential One-stop Chinese News and Infotainment Platform". Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Singapore". Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Peng Shuai: Chinese tennis star denies making assault claim as concerns persist". BBC News. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2022. Lianhe Zaobao is read in mainland China and has in recent years been known for its pro-Beijing coverage.
  12. ^ "人民日报". (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  13. ^ "环球时报 | 早报". (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  14. ^ a b "新加坡《联合早报》对于美国《华盛顿邮报》针对本报长篇报道的回应 | 早报". Lianhe Zaobao (in Simplified Chinese). July 2023. Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  15. ^ "Chinese propagandists court South-East Asia's Chinese diaspora". The Economist. 20 November 2021. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on 20 November 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  16. ^ Lee, Gigi (22 June 2023). "Singapore newspaper article on Biden's 'dictator' comment blocked in Hong Kong". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 28 June 2023.
  17. ^ Hammond, Daniel R. (3 April 2019). "The Favourable Partner: An Analysis of Lianhe Zaobao's Representation of China in Southeast Asia". British Journal of Chinese Studies. 8. University of Edinburgh: 62–91. doi:10.51661/bjocs.v8i1.20. S2CID 85440133. In the use of the terms "South China Sea" and "development", the stories addressing Southeast Asia were much more varied and included stories that were critical of China's role in the region, as well as highlighting the problem of the China threat, explaining and criticising the involvement of the US, and raising concerns about the behaviour of other states. In contrast, the stories regarding "China and Singapore" were overwhelmingly positive and focused on economic ties, political links, and personal stories which brought China and Singapore together. [...] in this specific case, Singapore's press does act out the role of China's critical friend in Southeast Asia, and uses the region as a means to deliver its concerns and criticisms regarding China's actions.
  18. ^ "US news outlets 'misguided' to expect Singapore to follow either US or China, says ambassador in response to Washington Post article on Lianhe Zaobao". Channel NewsAsia. 5 August 2023.
  19. ^ Magdalene Fung (5 August 2023). "Wrong to allege Zaobao echoes Beijing propaganda, S'pore envoy to US Lui Tuck Yew tells Washington Post". The Straits Times. ISSN 0585-3923. Retrieved 26 May 2024.
  20. ^ "PM Lee Hsien Loong at Lianhe Zaobao's Centennial Gala Dinner". Prime Minister's Office Singapore. 29 September 2023. Retrieved 30 September 2023. To counter such influences, it is critical for Zaobao to maintain a clear editorial stance and have sufficient independent content, so that it can continue to speak for Singapore and safeguard our interests. Zaobao must not be used by others to put out views that are detrimental to Singapore's interests or are not aligned with our national sentiment. When publishing articles or commentaries by foreign contributors, Zaobao should also ensure that its readers are aware who these writers are speaking for and recognise that these views do not represent Zaobao's stance. Otherwise, readers may question if Zaobao has lost its independence or is choosing sides. [...] Some say that Zaobao supports China's position. While others say that Zaobao leans towards the United States.
  21. ^ "关于我们 | 早报". (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Media Releases - Singapore Press Holdings". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  23. ^ 杨雪慧, 文 / (31 December 2008). "《星期5周报》改名 明年1月7日起《逗号》与早报一起进校园". 早报 (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  24. ^ Li, Jane (2 October 2019). "The biggest thing that happened in China on its National Day is mostly invisible in China". Quartz. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  25. ^ "China Blocks Singapore Site". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  26. ^ Yeo Kaiqi (19 July 2017). "S'pore newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reportedly blocked in parts of China". Mothership.