Caixin is Mandarin for ‘financial news’. Caixin Media Company Limited is a media group dedicated to making financial and business news accessible in a range of forms. Caixin is published in both Chinese and English, online and as a monthly magazine.
Caixin Media aims to blaze a trail that helps traditional media prosper in the new media age through integrated multimedia platforms. I have been writing for Caixin’s Society & Culture section since January 2016. Here’s a preview of my work for Caixin:
Redefining the China Dream
Lijia Zhang talks about her struggle to transform herself from factory worker to author and her first novel, which is about sex workers in southern China.
[excerpt] My grandma’s story had planted the initial seed of curiosity in my mind. I interviewed several sex workers while in Shenzhen. I also worked as a volunteer for a non-governmental organization distributing condoms among sex workers in northern China. Many small details in the book are real.
The biggest challenge was that the lives of sex workers were so far removed from mine. One of my friends said, “Try and work as a prostitute, you can satisfy your sexual needs, and you can make some money, and do your research.”
This interview featured in the February 2016 Caixin magazine, and online here [now paid access only]: Redefining the China Dream, Caixin Global
A longer version of this interview is available on ZhendeGender.
New Novel Explores Roots of ‘Chinese Flower Girls,’ Modern-Day Sex Workers
I spoke to Lijia Zhang about her debut novel, Lotus, in December 2016. We discussed China’s hedonism and sexual revolution, the lack of sexual education, the fate of single mothers and the abuse of sex workers by Chinese authorities. The piece was published by Caixin Global on 13th February 2017.
[excerpt] Every society has prostitution. There is a saying in China: 饱暖思淫欲 温饱而思淫欲 – which means once you have food and clothing you start thinking about sex. I have always been curious about the women who fill this social need.
Society has become hedonistic after Mao’s regime of sexual purity and sexual repression. China has become materialistic, restless. Other reasons for the growing sex industry include growing wealth, relaxed social control and the resulting growth in individual personal freedom. Plus, of course, China’s population is increasingly mobile. Young migrant workers often can’t bring their wives with them or establish a relationship. Imagine a young migrant labourer on a construction site, who works long hours and barely leaves the site, where he probably lives too. How could a man like this possibly provide a home for his family in the city, or maintain a relationship outside the workplace?
Read the interview on Caixin’s website.
The Caixin piece was an edited and reduced version of my interview with Zhang. You can read the full interview in two parts here:
Identity, Breast Implants, and Wanting More From Life: Lijia Zhang on her debut novel, Lotus (interview: part I)
Sexuality, Contraception, and Challenging the Patriarchy: Lijia Zhang on her debut novel, Lotus (interview: part II)