From business to literature to politics, there is a huge pool of female expertise on China. But you wouldn’t know it if you examined the names of people who are quoted in the media and invited to China-themed panel discussions: They are mostly men. This is a problem that two Beijing-based journalists aim to solve.
Joanna Chiu of AFP and Lucy Hornby of the Financial Times created and maintain an open, user-contributed list called “Female Experts on Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China and Taiwan.” They began by providing their own contacts, then promoted the document to various email groups and to Twitter. The list “blew up” early this year and now contains nearly 200 names and contact details of female China experts on every major subject area, based all around the world. With such a roster willing to be called up, the list eliminates many common excuses for the underrepresentation of women in the field.
In this episode, Joanna and Lucy speak with Jeremy and Kaiser about the realities and biases in the field, the excuses and corresponding solutions for gender underrepresentation, and how the “women’s list” came about.
Longtime listeners will remember Lucy from a previous Sinica episode discussing her story on China’s last surviving “comfort women,” enslaved by the Japanese military in World War II. You can follow Lucy on Twitter at @hornbylucy, and find Joanna on Twitter at @joannachiu.
Jeremy: Witness to Revolution, a film by Lucy Ostrander about author and labor activist Anna Louise Strong (1885–1970), who spent decades in China and the Soviet Union, getting to know Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Joseph Stalin, and writing about their pursuit of communism.
Lucy: All the President’s Men, the first-person account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they reported on the Nixon administration’s Watergate scandal.
Kaiser: The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a story about a sleeper agent from Vietnam who moves to the U.S.
As a career U.S. foreign service officer and the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the U.S. State Department, Susan Thornton has had a hand in the China policy of three successive American administrations. She was stationed in China for the years 2000-2007, and since then has held leadership positions in Washington connected to U.S.-China relations. Before 2000, she specialized in and was stationed in post-Soviet states, including Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
She is an excellent interpreter of how U.S.-China relations have developed in the 21st century, and a key player in current U.S.-China policy.
In this podcast: What really happened at Mar-a-Lago? Was the Trump team prepared? Was the timing of the Syria strike intentional? How does the U.S. administration plan to press China on North Korea, and will it continue to criticize China on human rights?
This podcast was recorded live on April 12 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., with the help of that university’s chapter of Global China Connection.
Jeremy: “Logical Thinking” (逻辑思维 luóji sīwéi), a popular channel on WeChat that broadcasts a one-minute recording on an issue of society in mainland China every day. Search for “逻辑思维” on WeChat.
Susan: The Immobile Empire, by Alain Peyrefitte, a book on Lord George Macartney’s famous trip to visit the Qianlong Emperor in 1793 and cross-cultural perceptions between the British and Chinese empires.
Kaiser: Chinese History: A New Manual, by Endymion Wilkinson. The invaluable tome covering China from many different angles is often described as “magisterial.”
Virginia A. Kamsky, also known as Ginny, is one of the leading foreign businesspeople in China and a legend of the U.S.-China commercial relationship.
She first went to China in 1978 with what was then the Chase Manhattan Bank, before the country began “reform and opening up” and when very few foreigners visited. Ginny founded Kamsky Associates, Inc., in 1980, one of the first U.S. companies to be granted a business license in China. As a strategic advisory firm, Kamsky works with a wide array of clients ranging from automobile, chemical, finance, media, and more.
Unlike some foreign business people but like many of the most successful business leaders in China, she has a background in Chinese language and culture, having learned it since she was ten years old. On the podcast, she shares some of her experiences getting to know some of the more notable politicians, executives, and entrepreneurs working in China, and the opportunities and pitfalls of doing business there as a woman and as a foreigner.
Ginny will also be featured next month — on May 18, 2017 — as a speaker on the CEO / Leaders panel of the SupChina Women and China Conference in New York.
Jeremy: 5 Calls, a smartphone app designed for the American “resistance” to Donald Trump, which gives you the numbers of five elected representatives or government offices in the U.S. to contact every day based on your location.
Ginny: A video of Chinese ballroom dancing from 1929, plus the new book of Brookings scholar Cheng Li, Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership.
Kaiser: Crazy Aaron Thinking Putty, a fun toy his son discovered and that Kaiser has found quite useful as a sort of stress ball.
Is nationalism really rising in China? How does it differ from patriotism? What is “Eurasianism” and how does Russia use that concept? How much of China’s nationalism is rooted in the “century of humiliation” that the country suffered at the hands of Western countries and Japan between 1839 and 1949? Jeremy and Kaiser spoke with two eminent scholars of nationalism in Russia and China to find out.
Charles Clover is a correspondent with the Financial Times based in Beijing, and author of Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise of Russia's New Nationalism.
Jude Blanchette is a scholar currently writing a book on neo-Maoists in China, who, he explains, have their own interpretation of Chinese nationalism. Jude was a guest on a previous episode of the Sinica Podcast dedicated to the subject of neo-Maoists.
Jeremy: “The Age of Total Lies,” a translation of an essay written by Vesna Pešić, a Serbian opposition politician and human rights activist.
Jude: The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China, published in 1993 by Susan Shirk.
Charles: Easternization: Asia's Rise and America's Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond, by Gideon Rachman.