NPR: 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.



Wed June 1, 2011

After Crises Japanese Lose Faith In Their Government

In Japan, public distrust of the government is growing following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. The country's prime minister is expected to face a vote of no confidence tomorrow.


Tue May 10, 2011

Authorities Deny Chinese Writer Permission To Leave China

Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, who has been an outspoken critic of his government, has been barred from attending a literary event in Australia. The organizers of the event say the Chinese government cited security reasons for its decision. The writer has been barred from leaving China a number of times.


Wed May 4, 2011

Hong Kong Graffiti Challenges Chinese Artist's Arrest

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:52 am

Hong Kong police are investigating criminal damage charges against artist Tangerine for graffiti of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The bearded face of the detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is spray-painted on a nondescript gray wall overlooking the steep lanes of Hong Kong's nightlife capital, Lan Kwai Fong.

Given his real-life circumstances — summarily disappeared at the hands of the Chinese authorities with no charges yet laid — the furrowed forehead and hooded, tired eyes of the image now seem a representation of suffering. Underneath his face is one simple question, "Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei?"

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Fri April 22, 2011

Hotpot, Delivered: In China, A New Dining Experience

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:57 am

Kou Na, Lu Siqi, Lu Lixin and Cui Zhilian tuck in to their hot pot. They say they often go to the restaurant, but the wait is long so they decided to order delivery. When they're done eating, they can call the hotline and a deliveryman will pick everything up, including all of the trash.
Andrea Hsu NPR

For most of us, Chinese takeout means little white boxes packed full of sweet and sour pork and General Tso's chicken. But in China, facing intense competition, restaurants are getting innovative. One chain has come up with the ultimate Chinese takeout: hot pot in your very own home.

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Tue April 12, 2011

North Korea's Pleas For Food Aid Draw Suspicion

The United Nations is warning that 6 million North Koreans — a quarter of the population — could be at risk of starvation. It's warning of a likely humanitarian crisis, with North Korea's public distribution system set to run out of food in May.

North Korean food shortages are no longer news, but this year Pyongyang has made unusually public pleas for food aid, raising fears as well as suspicions.

In North Korea, from May until July is called the "lean season." This year they're already using other Orwellian euphemisms, too, like "alternative food."

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Thu April 7, 2011

In Beijing, Even Luxury Billboards Are Censored

In China, certain words — like "Tiananmen Square" and "democracy" — have been politically sensitive for decades.

But that list seems to be growing ever longer. Now, words like "regal" and "luxury" have fallen foul of political correctness, and are being removed from billboards in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

But Beijing's attitude toward luxury is somewhat contradictory — only the ads, not the products themselves, are being restricted.

A Move 'Against Ostentation'

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