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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12:49pm

Tue April 12, 2011
Asia

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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4:26am

Thu April 7, 2011
Asia

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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2:00am

Mon April 4, 2011
Asia

China Detains Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a prolific tweeter – including tweeting the three occasions last week police visited his Beijing studio, complete with photos
Andy Wong AP

As China presses on with its harshest crackdown in years, one of its most famous artists has been blocked from leaving the country. Artist Ai Weiwei is best-known for helping design Beijing's Olympic stadium, known as the Birds Nest. He was taken into detention at Beijing airport yesterday morning, as he tried to travel to Hong Kong – and onto to Taipei - and has not been heard from since, the highest profile victim yet of Beijing's latest clampdown.

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3:29pm

Tue March 15, 2011
Japan In Crisis

China Acts Fast In Aiding Japan Post-Earthquake

Japan's emergency has provoked sympathy around the world, including from its near neighbor China, with whom relations have been traditionally tense.

China has acted fast, sending disaster relief and organizing the evacuation of its own citizens from the disaster zone. This disaster also has caused some Chinese to view Japan through fresh eyes.

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4:00am

Tue March 8, 2011
Asia

China's Leaders Want To Slow Their Heated Economy

China will not see a double dip in its economy this year, according to one Chinese official. He was speaking after a new vision was announced for the world's second biggest economy. But can the government make it happen?

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