Quick plug to my old chum Paul French’s latest book called Through the Looking Glass – China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao. Paul, the Old China Hands’ Old China Hand, examines the convulsive history of the old China press corps from the first newspapers printed in the European Factories of Canton in the 1820s through the 120 years of change, war, convulsion and revolution that led up to 1949. The story starts with a Sunday afternoon sword wielding duel between two editors over the opium trade and ends with a fistfight in a Shanghai jail over how to report Mao’s revolution. Like journalists everywhere, the old China press corps took sides and brought their own assumptions and prejudices with them but a fair number also brought their personal hopes, dreams and fears along too. They certainly weren’t infallible; they got the story completely wrong as often as they got it partially right. Most did their jobs professionally, some passionately and a select few with rare flair and touches of genius. They were all too often flamboyant and gregarious characters; sometimes dodgy and dishonest; sometimes obsessive and manic. More than a few were drunks, philanderers and frauds and inevitably there was the occasional spy. They changed sides, they lost their impartiality, they displayed bias and a few were downright scoundrels and liars of the first order. But they were never anything less than fascinating. You can catch Paul around the region. He’s normally funny, occasionally abrasive and worth listening to. Here are his book tour dates.
Sunday June 7 – Book Launch – The Glamour Bar Through the Looking Glass – China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao
The Glamour Bar 6/F, No. 5 The Bund (corner Guangdong Road) 4pm RMB 65, includes a drink To book: 6350-9988 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday June 8 – The Suzhou Bookworm Through the Looking Glass – China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao
The Suzhou Bookworm Gunxiufang 77, Shiquan Road, Suzhou 7.30pm RMB30, includes a drink http://www.suzhoubookworm.com/
Tuesday June 16 – The Beijing Bookworm Through the Looking Glass – China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao
The Beijing Bookworm Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 7.30pm RMB20 (members); RMB30 (non-members) http://www.beijingbookworm.com/index.php
Wednesday June 17 – The Bookworm at the Yin Yang Community Centre “Girl Reporters” in China
The Bookworm at the Yin Yang Community Centre The First Courtyard, Hegezhuang Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing Tel.: 6431.2108 Email: email@example.com
Thursday June 18 – The China Foreign Correspondents’ Club Through the Looking Glass – China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao http://www.fccchina.org/
Monday June 22 – Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club Through the Looking Glass – China’s Foreign Journalists from Opium Wars to Mao
HK FCC, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong Time: 11.15 Tel: 852 2521 1511 http://www.fcchk.org/
And for us up here in lovely Dalian, he’s coming to the Brooklyn Bar probably in the first week of July.
Living in Asia since 2000, Sam Chambers' life as a travel and transport writer keeps him on the road more often than not. His office is a laptop, his desk chair normally seat 36G onboard a CX flight to somewhere in Asia. This blog allows him to muse on some of the stuff he sees and hears out and about. Dalian is the place Sam now calls home.