Whether you’re visiting China for the first time, or just want a peek inside this fascinating world that is so often misunderstood, here is my recommended reading list on the Middle Kingdom.
Not all articles are published within the past twenty-four months; some are older in age. But they do a respectable job of conveying how things are today. Things change so damn fast in this country that I tried my best to curate the list based on what feels relevant.
I’m fully aware that feels is a subjective and, at best, vacuous term. At the very least, this list will give you a sense of what’s floating through my mind, and how I’m thinking about the world here.
A bit about me: I’m Taiwanese-Canadian and have been living in Beijing for the past seven years. I have a career in the tech industry and am currently running my own e-sports startup, CardBoard Live. What keeps me in China is its hectic pace, exposure to international elements, and great people.
[Warning: this list is long. And because I absolutely love long-read articles, there are 3,000-5,000 word monsters in here. Reader beware—or reader enjoy—depending on your persuasion.]
Alright, here we go.
In Beijing, 20 Million People Pretend to Live [Beijing Cream]
When the Weather Change [Elephant Room]
Is China’s gaokao the world’s toughest school exam? [The Guardian]
Chabuduo! Close enough… [Aeon]
Reading Howl in China [Aeon]
Hollywood’s Greatest Wall [The Ringer]
—The Chinese migrant experience—
Chinatown’s Ghost Scam [The New Yorker]
The City That Had Too Much Money [Bloomberg]
Learning To Speak Lingerie [The New Yorker]
Inside China’s audacious global propaganda campaign [The Guardian]
Liu Xiaobo’s death holds a message for China [The Economist]
Is China the World’s New Colonial Power? [NY Times]
Why do people in China give so little to charity? [The Economist]
—Tech and Innovation—
Letter from Shenzhen [Logic]
America Is Losing Its Edge for Startups [Citylab]
China’s Artificial-Intelligence Boom [The Atlantic]
An Undervalued Blockchain Market In China Is Good News For You [Hacker Noon on Medium]
Yan Lianke’s Forbidden Satires of China [The New Yorker]
Shenzhen’s Homegrown Cyborg [Vice]
Bill Bishop: The Invisible China Hand [Pando.com]
—Truth is stranger than fiction: the dark & the absurd—
Why China has banned videos of people whispering [The Guardian]
Pickup Artists with Chinese Characteristics [ChinaFile]
The Weird and Disturbing World of Chinese Livestreamers [The Daily Beast]
—Have limited time? Start with these five reads.–
- Modern China is So Crazy it Needs a New Literary Genre: On Living Through the “Ultra-unreal,” and Writing About It [Lithub]
- Children of the Yuan Percent: Everyone Hates China’s Rich Kids [Bloomberg]
- How China’s Rulers Control Society: Opportunity, Nationalism, Fear [NY Times]
- Letter from Shenzhen [Logic]
- Yan Lianke’s Forbidden Satires of China [The New Yorker]