Category Archives: books

How China’s urbanites create new identities – Ian Johnson

China’s big cities are developing a new city life, including new identities, writes journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, at the opening chapter of, Shanghai Sacred: The Religious Landscape of a Global City, by photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley, quoted in a review of the photo exhibition in Liverpool at Creative Boom

How an impoverished China started to expand in Africa – Howard French

China is nowadays even compared with former colonial powers when it comes to its economic rise in Africa. Journalist Howard French, the author of China’s Second Continent, takes a step back and looks at how it all started in the 1960s for Worldpoliticsreview, and how it relates to South Africa.

First Rome-approved bishop good news for Vatican – Ian Johnson

The first ordination of a bishop, Father Yao Shun, approved by the Pope and the central government is good news for the Vatican, says journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, to AFP. 

Ian Johnson no.1 in 2019 Best In-Depth Newswriting on Religion Contest

Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, has won the 2019 Best In-Depth Newswriting on Religion Contest, says the website of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). 

African states can ask China for more transparency – Howard French

Transparency is not a natural thing for China, not domestically nor internationally. But African states can ask China for more transparency, argues journalist Howard French, author China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa, to Inkstone.

A realistic view on Tibetan Buddhism – Ian Johnson

Journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao reviews a show at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City on Tibetan Buddhism for the NY Review of Books, a must read even when you do not make it to New York. Ian Johnson adds on Facebook: “Probably no faith is more stereotyped than Tibetan Buddhism, which has morphed in the West to a sort of feel-good faith led by a nice guy with a Nobel Peace Prize.”

How prostitution came on my radar – Zhang Lijia

Author Zhang Lijia tells in The Millions how she became interested in prostitution in China, after discovering her grandma was a ‘working girl’. It took years to write her bestselling novel Lotus: A Novel.

Modern China faces new feudal attitudes towards women – Zhang Lijia

Morality classes are popping up all over the country, teaching past traditional attitudes towards women, warns author Zhang Lijia in an opinion piece in The South China Morning Post who signals a backlash towards banned feudal behavior. The government steps in when those excesses are discovered, but it remains unclear what stays under the radar, Zhang adds.

Discussing civil society, by Chen Hongguo – Ian Johnson

Organizing public debate in China is challenging, but former Xi’an professor Chen Hongguo does. Journalist Ian Johnson visited the book club Zhiwuzhi Chen established after he decided to leave university, and discusses how he manages to survive, for the NY Review of Books.

China’s consumers are trading down – Shaun Rein

China’s consumers used to pay a premium to foreign products, because of the presumed quality and status connected to it. But those easy days for foreign brands are over, says business analyst Shaun Rein at the City Wireselect.