Alexa Olesen is a Brooklyn-based writer who focuses mainly on China, particularly on politics, culture, and the one-child policy. She covered China for eight years as a correspondent for The Associated Press and has spent more than a decade living in Beijing, on and off, since 1993. She recently collaborated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on its Offshore Leaks China project.

Last Updated: May 2, 2014

Media

11.06.15

‘A Brutality Born of Helplessness’

Alexa Olesen
When China finally scrapped its one-child policy after more than three decades of brutality, almost no one lamented its passing. But Paul R. Ehlich, a Stanford-educated biologist and author of the 1968 fear-baiting classic The Population Bomb, was...

Media

06.09.15

Chinese Censorship of Western Books Is Now Normal. Where’s the Outrage?

Alexa Olesen
In September 2014, I was commissioned by the New York-based free speech advocacy group PEN American Center to investigate how Western authors were navigating the multibillion-dollar Chinese publishing world and its massive, but opaque, censorship...

Reports

05.20.15

Censorship and Conscience

Alexa Olesen
Alexa Olesen
PEN International
In this report, PEN American Center (PEN) examines how foreign authors in particular are navigating the heavily censored Chinese book industry. China is one of the largest book publishing markets in the world, with total revenue projected to exceed...

Media

04.28.15

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Chinese Fugitives

Alexa Olesen
Meet China’s 100 international most-wanted: a history professor, a driving instructor, and a government propaganda office cashier. Chinese graft-busters want you to know that one of them might be your neighbor.On April 22, China’s dreaded Central...

Media

03.20.15

China Has Its Own Anti-Vaxxers—Blame the Internet

Alexa Olesen
While health officials in the United States and parts of Europe wrestle with a growing anti-vaccination, or “anti-vaxxer” movement, China is dealing with a less organized but similarly serious fear of immunizations. Social media reveals traces of...

Media

01.22.15

Xi Jinping’s Pay Raise

Alexa Olesen
It just got slightly less difficult to be a clean Chinese official. State media reported on January 20 that Chinese civil servants had received their first pay raise in ten years, a move that includes a 60 percent bump for President Xi Jinping and...

Media

12.08.14

Happy Friday, Zhou Yongkang

Alexa Olesen
Eight minutes after midnight on Friday, the axe fell on Zhou Yongkang: a terse news release from state-run Xinhua news agency said that China’s former security czar Zhou had been expelled from the Chinese Communist Party, his case handed over to...

Media

11.14.14

Why Is Beijing Downplaying the Supposedly Huge Climate Change Deal?

Alexa Olesen
The United States has been using some frothy language to describe its joint statement with China on forestalling climate change. In a breathless New York Times editorial, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry referred to it as "something of great...

Media

11.12.14

“Having a Second Kid Isn’t as Simple as Adding Another Pair of Chopsticks”

Alexa Olesen
When China loosened its family planning rules a year ago in November, allowing more couples to have a second child, it was big news. It marked the biggest reform of China's strict family planning rules—which limited most urban couples to one...

Media

10.23.14

Pandas Were Monsters

Alexa Olesen
"Rich Chinese are literally eating this exotic mammal into extinction," read a recent Global Post expose of the devastating trade in the pangolin, a scaly anteater that Chinese consider a delicacy. According to the Post, the adorable...

Media

09.02.14

Anti-Vice Click-Bait Spawns Popular Govt. Social Media Feed

Alexa Olesen
The Chinese government institution with the biggest social media following goes to...the nationwide anti-vice campaign called "Strike the four blacks, Eliminate the four harms." Da Sihei, Chu Sihai in Mandarin, the four blacks and four...

Conversation

05.14.13

Why Can’t China Make Its Food Safe?—Or Can It?

Alex Wang, John C. Balzano & more
The month my wife and I moved to Beijing in 2004, I saw a bag of oatmeal at our local grocery store prominently labeled: “NOT POLLUTED!” How funny that this would be a selling point, we thought.But 7 years later as we prepared to return to the US,...

Recommended Links

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11.27.12

A 5-year-old sex tape of an 18-year-old woman allegedly hired by developers to sleep with a city official is causing yet another scandal for China’s ruling Communists. 

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11.13.12

Dozens of the more than 2,000 party delegates, among them Chairman Mao's grandson, are using social media to wax rhapsodic about China's rise and Party General Secretary Hu Jintao's live 90-minute reading of highlights from this year's party work report. ...

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11.02.12

The unpopular policy should be phased out, says a Chinese government think tank.

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10.17.12

It's easier for a Chinese woman to orbit Earth than land a spot atop Chinese politics...

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06.05.12

China told foreign embassies Tuesday to stop publishing their own reports on air quality in the country, escalating its objections to a popular U.S. Embassy Twitter feed that tracks pollution in smoggy Beijing. Only the Chinese government is authorized to monitor and publish air quality information and data from other sources may not be...

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