Welcome to the East is Read

Welcome to my new blog about Greater China. Here, I will be featuring essays on a variety of issues relating to contemporary China. My aim in writing this blog is to present impartial and objective analysis of the aspects of China’s development which interest me, based on my long-term direct experience of China and academic research relating to China, particularly its increasingly active role in Africa. From time to time, I will also be inviting other writers with an interest in China to contribute articles for this blog.

As an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, I became interested in the Chinese presence in Lesotho – the country where I grew up. My undergraduate dissertation looked at the nature of Chinese aid to Lesotho and the extent to which it differed from aid received from Western donors. My interest in China and desire to learn Mandarin led me to pursue a two-year master’s course in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Oxford. The course focused on the economic and political rise of China, its recent history and its sociological and anthropological contexts. In addition to daily Mandarin training in Oxford, the programme also involved a four-month intensive language course at Peking University (Beida).

Studying at Beida in 2010 not only allowed me to become fluent in Mandarin but also provided a real-life context to my Sinology studies in Oxford. I returned to China in the summer of 2011 to work as a programme coordinator for an educational services provider based in Shanghai, although my role took me to cities around China, inspecting English language academies and interacting with Chinese students. Wanting to experience another side of Chinese culture and keen to continue studying Mandarin after my MPhil, I applied to the Taiwanese government for a scholarship to study Chinese at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei (Shida). I was fortunate to be awarded a six-month full scholarship, which I took between March and September 2012.

I hope to be able to draw on my experiences of life in China, Taiwan and Africa to provide some insights into what I think are the trends and consequences of China’s growth into a global power. Upcoming themes include Chinese migration to Lesotho, the implications of the One Child Policy, Western representations of China in Africa and African representations of China in Africa.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog. Please feel free to leave comments and to contact me if you have any ideas for articles in the future.

–      Views expressed are entirely the author’s own unless stated otherwise –

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