SOPA Lifetime Achievement Award 2024

SOPA Lifetime Achievement Award 2024

Benjamin Kang Lim 林洸耀
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Benjamin Kang Lim, a Philippine-born veteran journalist, was posthumously honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his groundbreaking reporting on China.

Over his 40-year career, he broke some of the most significant stories out of Greater China, including the death of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1997 and the unexpected rise of President Xi Jinping in 2007.

Born in Manila in 1959 to immigrant parents from China’s southern Fujian province, Ben developed a passion for Chinese martial arts films and decided to study Chinese in Taipei at the age of 19. He went on to work for Taiwan English-language paper The China Post and news agency Agence France-Presse before joining Reuters in 1991.

During his 27 years at Reuters, Ben held various esteemed positions, including Bureau Chief in Taipei and Beijing, as well as Chief Correspondent for North Asia. He was twice awarded both “Scoop of the Year” and “Reporter of the Year.”

Known for his exceptional ability to cultivate sources, Ben broke many significant stories throughout his career. His 1997 scoop on the death of Deng Xiaoping, ahead of China’s state news agency, was groundbreaking and solidified his reputation as one of China’s most respected journalists.

In 2005, he broke the news of the death of Zhao Ziyang, the former Communist Party chief who had been purged after the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and placed under house arrest until his death.

Ben’s meticulous and insightful reporting on Xi’s early career and ascent to power provided a unique glimpse into the inner workings of China’s political elite. In 2007, he accurately predicted the entire nine-man lineup of the new 17th Politburo Standing Committee, a feat coveted by any reporter in China.

Having won 13 journalism awards, including four SOPA awards, Ben interviewed numerous Asian leaders, such as Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, as well as Taiwan Presidents Chen Shui-bian, Ma Ying-jeou, and Tsai Ing-wen, and Philippine Presidents Fidel Ramos, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III.

After leaving Reuters in 2018, Ben remained in Beijing as the Global Affairs Correspondent for Singapore’s The Straits Times.

In 2016, he authored a book in Chinese titled “Taking China’s Pulse,” accurately predicting that Xi Jinping would remain in power for at least three terms, breaking a long-held party convention.

Ben passed away on May 21 in Beijing at the age of 65 due to pancreatitis. He is survived by his wife and daughter.