I am a Canadian journalist currently working on a narrative non-fiction book about the Chinese in Europe.
As the recipient of a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, I lived in a small county in eastern China — a place with a 300-year history of emigration to the West.
I stayed in Qingtian County for nearly a year to understand the complexities of the immigrant dream — why Chinese people choose to immigrate to nations where they endure hardship, suspicion, manual labor and separation from their loved ones. And why the Qingtian people in particular continue to emigrate to Europe when so many countries in the EU grapple with high unemployment and debt.
I came to know a group of young people in Qingtian on the verge of making that pivotal, life-changing voyage abroad, I talked to them about their dreams and hopes and fears and watched them as they prepared to leave the only home they’d ever known. Then, in Europe, I found them again.
In the fall of 2011, with funds raised through Kickstarter, I visited Chinese communities in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. I returned in the spring of 2012 for more research and then again in 2013.
Today all eyes are on China and its explosive economic growth. With the rise of the Chinese middle class, Chinese communities around the world are growing in size and prosperity, a development many westerners find unsettling, and even threatening. My book, MEET ME IN VENICE, seeks to explore modern China and the growing Chinese diaspora through real immigrant stories. It will be published in February 2015 by Rowman and Littlefield.
Like so many Chinese emigrants, I am always on the move. In this blog, I mostly write about my travels, China, the Chinese diaspora, and about immigration and migration.
I am a graduate of Ryerson University’s School of Journalism and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.