2017 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow
Freelance Columnist and Independent Filmmaker, China
Audrey Jiajia Li is a freelance columnist and independent filmmaker, based in Guangzhou, China. Her opinion columns, written in both Chinese and English, cover current affairs in China, with a focus on politics, human rights, social justice and freedom of speech. She is currently contributing to the South China Morning Post, Lianhe Zaobao, FTChinese, Strait Times, and The Interpreter, among others.
Previously, Li was selected for the U.S. Department of State’s Media Co-Op Program to create her documentary “LA, Say Goodbye to Smog,” which shows how Los Angeles got its once heavy air pollution under control. Through her documentary, Li aims to inform her Chinese audience about the importance of civic engagement.
Prior to that, Li was a television journalist for nearly 10 years. She produced and hosted her own award-winning, nationally-televised program for Guangdong Satellite TV, where she interviewed guests about sensitive political and human rights issues.
“In my observation, two real Chinas exist in parallel at the same time. One is a super power with rapid economic growth and a quick rise of living standards, while the other is a vast nation where a sizable number of people still suffer from inequality, injustice, and a lack of individual liberty. Journalists have the obligation to raise awareness about these important yet ignored issues to make my country a better place,” Li said.
Li has built an online audience for her critical, social justice oriented commentary. She is prominent on social media with more than 720,000 followers on weibo, China’s Twitter-like micro-blogging platform. In July 2016, Li published her first book, which features her observations on Chinese society over her past ten years as a journalist.
Li has recently resigned from her position at an official TV station to become a freelance columnist and independent filmmaker. During a time of increased censorship in China, Li strives to provide objective coverage to her audience.