Audrey Jiajia Li

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.


Reporting

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Chinese social media storm over reporter’s eye-roll highlights impatience with staged political events

When I covered the “two sessions” – the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – for the first time as a local television journalist nearly 10 years ago, I didn’t realise how much…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Blackface skit on TV gala a sign that rising China needs to combat racial and ethnic stereotyping

For many Chinese, watching the state broadcaster China Central Television’s annual Spring Festival Gala, allegedly the most-viewed show on Earth, has been a Lunar New Year’s Eve ritual since the early 1980s. Enthusiastically promoted by…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

‘Fire and Fury’ sheds light on Trump’s change of heart on China policies

For those who have paid attention to then-candidate, then-president-elect, then-President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on China, the change could not have been more dramatic. In 2015, candidate Trump referred to China as an enemy,saying “they have…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

A #MeToo movement in China starts with letting women say ‘no’ to offensive content

Audrey Jiajia Li says Chinese society has a long way to go when the victims of sexual harassment are blamed and those who seek equality are demonised as part of the ‘white left’. In late…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Beijing’s cruel eviction of its migrant workers is a stain on China’s urbanisation drive

The popular Chinese comedian Guo Degang tells this joke: a millionaire once claimed that while he couldn’t care for all the poor in the world, he would never turn a blind eye to people suffering…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Trump intervened with Xi on UCLA players. But what about human rights activists?

  For days, President Trump has touted his achievement in securing the release of three UCLA basketball players who were arrested in China for alleged shoplifting. Claiming that the trio would have had to stay…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

China, a model for gender equality? The reality would say otherwise

China’s ruling Communist Party unveiled its new top leadership at the 19th National Congress: seven men in their 60s, stiffly lining up to the world’s attention. Not surprisingly, no women. And, in the 25-person Politburo,…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Trump and Xi forge a friendship

  Despite his China-bashing campaign rhetoric, President Trump is enjoying the warmest reception of his overseas trips – since his inauguration – in Beijing. China is billing the trip as a “state visit-plus,” a phrase…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Ai Weiwei: The enemy of walls

  A huge gilded cage, located at the southeast entrance of the Central Park, has become New York City’s new landmark – and attracted visitors from across the world. Visible from the Trump Tower just…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Mark Zuckerberg’s China dilemma: To kowtow or not?

  The axe seems to have finally fallen last week in China on Facebook’s instant messaging service, WhatsApp. Just like every other major product of Mark Zuckerberg’s, it too is now apparently being blocked. The…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

China’s delicate dance with ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘dotard’

  Consumed by a siege mentality, facing sanctions imposed by the world’s major powers, a poverty-stricken nation where people were suffering from starvation and famine pressed ahead at all costs to develop its nuclear weapon…

| Audrey Jiajia Li

Garry Kasparov: Trump is a wake-up call for the free world

  Garry Kasparov, Russian chess grandmaster, whose match with the IBM Supercomputer “Deep Blue” 20 years ago marked the first defeat of a reigning world chess champion by AI under tournament conditions, has since become…