Louisa Lim

Beijing Correspondent Louisa Lim is currently attending the University of Michigan as a Knight-Wallace Fellow. She will return to her regular role in 2014.

Based in Beijing, NPR foreign correspondent Louisa Lim finds China a hugely diverse, vibrant, fascinating place. "Everywhere you look and everyone you talk to has a fascinating story," she notes, adding that she's "spoiled with choices" of stories to cover. In her reports, Lim takes "NPR listeners to places they never knew existed. I want to give them an idea of how China is changing and what that might mean for them."

Lim opened NPR's Shanghai bureau in February 2006, but she's reported for NPR from up Tibetan glaciers and down the shaft of a Shaanxi coalmine. She made a very rare reporting trip to North Korea, covered illegal abortions in Guangxi province, and worked on the major multimedia series on religion in China "New Believers: A Religious Revolution in China." Lim has been part of NPR teams who multiple awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, a Peabody and two Edward R. Murrow awards, for their coverage of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 and the Beijing Olympics. She's been honored in the Human Rights Press Awards, as well as winning prizes for her multimedia work.

In 1995, Lim moved to Hong Kong and worked at the Eastern Express newspaper until its demise six months later and then for TVB Pearl, the local television station. Eventually Lim joined the BBC, working first for five years at the World Service in London, and then as a correspondent at the BBC in Beijing for almost three years.

Lim found her path into journalism after graduating with a degree in Modern Chinese studies from Leeds University in England. She worked as an editor, polisher, and translator at a state-run publishing company in China, a job that helped her strengthen her Chinese. Simultaneously, she began writing for a magazine and soon realized her talents fit perfectly with journalism.

NPR London correspondent Rob Gifford, who previously spent six years reporting from China for NPR, thinks that Lim is uniquely suited for his former post. "Not only does Louisa have a sharp journalistic brain," Gifford says, "but she sees stories from more than one angle, and can often open up a whole new understanding of an issue through her reporting. By listening to Louisa's reports, NPR listeners will certainly get a feel for what 21st century China is like. It is no longer a country of black and white, and the complexity is important, a complexity that you always feel in Louisa's intelligent, nuanced reporting."

Out of all of her reporting, Lim says she most enjoys covering stories that are quirky or slightly offbeat. However, she gravitates towards reporting on arts stories with a deeper significance. For example, early in her tenure at NPR, Lim highlighted a musical on stage in Seoul, South Korea, based on a North Korean prison camp. The play, and Lim's piece, highlighted the ignorance of many South Koreans of the suffering of their northern neighbors.

Married with a son and a daughter, Lim recommends any NPR listeners travelling to Shanghai stop by a branch of her husband's Yunnan restaurant, Southern Barbarian, where they can snack on deep fried bumblebees, a specialty from that part of southwest China. In Beijing, her husband owns and runs what she calls "the first and best fish and chip shop in China", Fish Nation.

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Parallels
3:05 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Children Of China's Wealthy Learn Expensive Lessons

The children of wealthy Chinese attend classes designed to teach them how to do things like raise money for charity. The parents pay up to $10,000 a year to send their kids to weekend classes.
Angie Quan NPR

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 7:07 am

In China, having too much money is a relatively new problem. But the rapidly growing country is second only to the U.S. in its number of billionaires, according to Forbes magazine. And now an enterprising company has set up a course for kids born into wealthy families, who are learning how to deal with the excesses of extraordinary wealth.

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Parallels
4:06 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

After The Quake In China: A Survivor's Story

Zhang Ming lost her 5-year-old daughter, her parents and her home in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. She now operates a stall selling food and drinks, and she and her husband have another daughter. But life is difficult. "We are facing the problem of how to survive, so we don't have time to think of anything else. If you have too much free time, you think about things too much."
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 6:25 pm

Zhang Ming lost her 5-year-old daughter, her parents and her home in the powerful earthquake that hit Sichuan province five years ago. She now operates a stall selling soft drinks, homemade tofu, popsicles and souvenirs. She and her husband had another child, a daughter who is now 4.

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Parallels
3:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Five Years After A Quake, Chinese Cite Shoddy Reconstruction

The wife of Li Yiqian, Yang Liming, sits in their house, which is plastered with pictures of China's leaders, an attempt to help prevent local authorities from demolishing it. Her husband has been sentenced to three years in prison for organizing a crowd to create a disturbance; she believes it's for his work in helping dispossessed villagers petition.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Five years after the massive Wenchuan quake in China's Sichuan province left about 90,000 dead and missing, allegations are surfacing that corruption and official wrongdoing have plagued the five-year-long quake reconstruction effort.

The official press is full of praise for how "all Chinese have a reason to be proud of what the concerted efforts of the entire nation achieved in creating a new life for the survivors."

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

To Silence Discontent, Chinese Officials Alter Workweek

Protesters demonstrate against plans for a factory to produce paraxylene, a toxic chemical used to make fabrics, in China's Yunnan province on Saturday. In nearby Chengdu, planned protests were thwarted.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:03 am

How do you prevent protests in China? Move the weekend.

That's the Orwellian step taken by local authorities in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. May 4 is a sensitive date commemorating an influential student movement in 1919. It's especially potent in Chengdu, where it marks the fifth anniversary of a protest against the construction of a $6 billion crude oil refinery and petrochemical facility in Pengzhou, 25 miles away.

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The Two-Way
4:22 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Chinese Dreams: Freedom, Democracy And Clean Air

Pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong sing and shout slogans during a January protest. Chinese leaders and the state-run media are now speaking often of the Chinese dream, though there's no real consensus on what it means.
Philippe Lopez AFP/Getty Images

"What is your Chinese dream?"

With Chinese leaders and the state-run media now talking about the notion of the Chinese dream, we posed this question on our NPR Weibo account. In China, Weibo is the equivalent of Twitter. Within several hours, we received more than 100 replies.

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Asia
2:47 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Chasing The Chinese Dream — If You Can Define It

A woman in downtown Beijing walks past a building adorned with a patriotic mural by Chinese graffiti artists on April 22.
Stephen Shaver UPI/Landov

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 8:16 pm

Forget about the American dream. Nowadays, the next big thing is the Chinese dream. In Beijing, it's the latest official slogan, mentioned on the front page of the official People's Daily 24 times in a single week recently.

With this level of publicity from the official propaganda machine, the Chinese dream even looks set to be enshrined as the new official ideology.

But what exactly is it?

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The Changing Lives Of Women
3:42 am
Tue April 23, 2013

For Chinese Women, Marriage Depends On Right 'Bride Price'

Lucy Wang and Derek Wei represent the new modern Chinese bride and groom. With a lack of women in China, Wei had to pay more than $10,000 in a "bride price" to attract Wang to marry him.
Sim Chi Yin for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 3:05 pm

Women hold up half the sky, China's Chairman Mao famously said. But in China, the one-child policy and the traditional preference for boys mean that 117 boys are born for every 100 baby girls. By one estimate, this means there could be 24 million Chinese men unable to find wives by the end of the decade.

As China's economy booms, the marriage market has become just that: a market, with new demands by women for apartments and cars.

But are women really benefiting from their scarcity?

Let's Make A Deal

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

China's New Urban Legend That Turned Out Not To Be

China's President Xi Jinping (center back) walks to his seat as he arrives at the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Forum in Boao, in southern China's Hainan province, on Sunday.
Alexander F. Yuan AP

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 8:27 pm

In China, countless television soap operas have been based on the adventures of Emperor Kangxi, a Qing ruler in the 17th century who, according to legend, would slip off his yellow dragon-embroidered silk robes to travel incognito among his people.

For several hours Thursday, a story went viral on the Chinese Internet that the new Communist equivalent of the emperor, President Xi Jinping, had pulled the same trick.

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Asia
5:34 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Visitors To North Korea See Nothing Out Of The Ordinary

Patrick Thornquist, a teacher from Chicago, says he didn't encounter any anti-American sentiment in the North. "You're trying to find that balance between what your media tell you and what they're telling you, because they're very far off," he said.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 8:22 pm

North Korea's recent campaign of bluster and escalation seems to be reaching new heights, but visitors to the reclusive country say there are few signs the capital is anywhere near a war footing.

International TV broadcasters have been repeatedly showing tanks trundling through Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square in a demonstration of North Korean national power.

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Asia
5:02 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

North Korea Moves Missile To Its Eastern Coast

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:20 pm

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