Louisa Lim

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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5:48am

Mon June 2, 2014
World

For One Soldier At Tiananmen, A Day 'Never Forgotten'

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:15 pm

Artist and former soldier Chen Guang stands with one of his paintings last year that depicts the scene when he helped clear Tiananmen Square as a soldier.
Louisa Lim NPR

Hour after hour passed as Chen Guang stood, gun trembling in his hands, behind the doors of Beijing's Great Hall of the people, waiting for the order to clear Tiananmen Square of its student protesters.

It was 1989, and Chen was a 17-year-old soldier from a small town whose life was changed by his role in the bloody crackdown. His account offers a sharply different perspective of the events of June 3 and 4, 1989, when martial law troops fought their way into the center of Beijing, killing hundreds of people, mainly on approach roads into the square.

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5:46am

Sun June 1, 2014
Parallels

For Many Of China's Youth, June 4 May As Well Be Just Another Day

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:14 am

A Chinese man who became known as "Tank Man" stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Changan Avenue just outside Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. It's an iconic image known around the world --€” except in China.
Jeff Widener AP

They peered at the photo blankly, leaning to take in the details.

"Is it from South Korea?" asked a student studying for a doctorate in marketing, with no flicker of recognition.

"Is it Kosovo?" a young astronomy major guessed.

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3:00am

Wed June 26, 2013
Asia

Belly Dancing For The Dead: A Day With China's Top Mourner

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 9:39 am

Dingding Mao is a professional mourner, who is paid for her talents at singing the funeral dirge. This is a tradition that began in the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago.
Courtesy of Wu Peng

File under "one of the oddest jobs ever": professional mourner. China's funeral rituals date back 2,000 years to the Han dynasty, but were banned during the Cultural Revolution as superstition. Now these funeral rituals have become an income source to a select few who stage funeral extravaganzas, marrying ancient Chinese traditions with modern entertainment.

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11:35am

Wed May 29, 2013
Asia

For China's Youth, A Life Of 'Darkness Outside The Night'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 2:48 pm

Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below." href="/post/chinas-youth-life-darkness-outside-night" class="noexit lightbox">
A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below.
Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP

Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.

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11:17am

Wed May 22, 2013
Parallels

China's Artist Provocateur Explores New Medium: Heavy Metal

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 6:18 pm

The video for Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's newly released song starts by re-creating the conditions of his captivity during the 81 days he was held in police detention in 2011, and later dissolves into a dystopian nightmare.
Courtesy Ai Weiwei

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