Chinese society and geopolitics through millennial female perspectives w/ Joanna Chiu & Karoline Kan
When it comes to China, the voices of female journalists and authors are rarely part of the conversation about the country’s dramatic moves to become the dominant global power. Caught between tradition and ambition, China’s millennial generation is facing a difficult task of navigating the country’s authoritarian politics whilst making the most of the opportunities afforded by its hyper-modern technology and economic boom. Join authors Joanna Chiu (journalist at the Toronto Star; author of China Unbound) and Karoline Kan (journalist at Bloomberg; author of Under Red Skies) for a revealing conversation about navigating their way as female journalists in a country mostly seen through the eyes of male Westerners. Offering both local and global perspectives on China, Joanna and Karoline will discuss the human consequences of its dramatic moves to become the dominant power and the challenges of reporting from the frontlines of its influence.
The evening will be moderated by Paul Bolding, a journalist with Reuters for 34 years who has since retirement worked for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and taught BA and MA courses in journalism at City University London.
As the world’s second-largest economy, China is extending its influence across the globe with the complicity of democratic nations.
Joanna Chiu has spent a decade tracking China’s propulsive rise, from the political aspects of its multi-billion-dollar “New Silk Road” global investment project to its growing sway over foreign countries and multilateral institutions through “United Front” efforts.
For too long, Western societies have mishandled or simply ignored Beijing’s actions, out of narrow self-interest. Over time, Chiu argues, decades of willful misinterpretation have become harmful complicity in the toxic diplomacy, human rights abuses and foreign interference seen from China today.
Engaging chapters transport readers to a frozen lake in Russia, protests in Hong Kong, underground churches in Beijing, and exile Uyghur communities in Turkey, exposing Beijing’s high-tech surveillance and aggressive measures, which result in human rights violations against those who challenge its power.
The new world disorder documented in China Unbound lays out its disturbing implications for global stability, prosperity, and civil rights everywhere.
Joanna Chiu is an internationally recognised authority on China, whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Foreign Policy, BBC World, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera and others. For seven years she was based in China as a foreign correspondent, reporting for AFP and Deutsche Presse-Agentur. In 2012 her story on refugees in Hong Kong won a Human Rights Press Award, and in 2018 her report on #MeToo cases in Asia was named one of the best Foreign Policy long-form stories. She is the founder and chair of the NüVoices editorial collective, which celebrates the creative and academic work of women working on the subject of China. She is currently a senior journalist covering China-related topics for the Toronto Star.
About Under Red Skies
Through the stories of three generations of her family, Karoline Kan, a former New York Times reporter based in Beijing, reveals how they navigated their way in a country beset by poverty and often-violent political unrest. As the Kans move from quiet villages to crowded towns and through the urban streets of Beijing in search of a better way of life, they are forced to confront the past and break the chains of tradition, especially those forced on women.
Raw and revealing, Karoline Kan offers gripping tales of her grandmother, who struggled to make a way for her family during the Great Famine; of her great-uncle, a former Communist Red Guard; of her mother, who defied the One-Child Policy by giving birth to Karoline; of her cousin, a factory worker scraping by on 6 yuan (88 cents) per hour; and of herself, an ambitious millennial striving to find a job—and true love—during a time rife with bewildering social change.
Under Red Skies is an engaging eyewitness account and Kan’s quest to understand the rapidly evolving, shifting sands of China. It is the first English-language memoir from a Chinese millennial to be published in the West, and a fascinating portrait of an otherwise hidden world.
Karoline Kan, who writes about the environment and climate change for Bloomberg, has also worked as a journalist for The New York Times, and as an editor for China Dialogue. In 2019 she was named the Young China Watcher of the Year. She lives in Beijing.