467: Americans in China
Jun 22, 2012
It used to be that the American expats in China were the big shots. They had the money, the status, the know-how. But that's changed. What's it like to be an American living in China now? And what do they understand about China that we don't?
- Months ago, in preparing for this show, we started reaching out to Americans living in China and asking for their stories. A shocking amount of the expats came back with stories about different times they were on Chinese television. So many people sent us their China TV stories that we began to wonder, "have ALL of you guys been on TV?! Is this the consummate expat experience in China?" Several expats talk to Ira about why the Chinese love foreigners on their TV shows. And Evan Osnos, a staff writer for The New Yorker who writes about China, says it's hard for Americans living in China to figure out what to tell friends and family back home. (7 1/2 minutes)
- There are about seventy thousand Americans living in mainland China today, according to the Chinese and US governments. A lot of the Americans in China only stay for a few years, but then there are others — American ex-pats who’ve lived in China for a decade or more with no foreseeable plans to come home. Who are they? And how Chinese do they become? Evan Osnos has this story, which starts with an ex-pat named Kaiser Kuo. Evan is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he writes the column Letter from China. (29 minutes)Song:
- There are so few farmers in the United States that in 1993, the census stopped counting the number of Americans who live on farms at the time. But in China, despite the vast migration to cities in recent years, more than half the country still lives in rural areas. Michael Meyer is a writer whose first book, The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed detailed his three years living in Beijing’s oldest neighborhood. Now he’s writing about living in rural China — specifically, in the village his wife comes from — for a book called In Manchuria that will be published later this year. (17 minutes)