James Palmer is the author of The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia (Faber, 2008), short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and The Death of Mao: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Birth of the New China (Faber, 2012). He won the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul Prize for travel writing in 2003. Palmer lives in Beijing, where he is an editor for the English edition of The Global Times, and writes on modern Chinese history and society for Aeon Magazine.

Last Updated: February 4, 2015

Viewpoint

12.09.16

I Think That Chinese Official Really Liked Me!

David Wertime & James Palmer
“Friendship” is everywhere in China, at least when it comes to dealing with foreigners. International societies are friendship associations. The stores once accessible only to foreign currency holders were called Friendship Stores. Provincial cities...

Viewpoint

11.09.16

China Just Won The U.S. Election

James Palmer from Foreign Policy
The election of Donald Trump will be a disaster for anyone who cares about human rights, U.S. global leadership, and media freedom. That means it’s a victory for Beijing, where, as I write, the Chinese leaders near me in the palatial complex of...

Postcard

01.18.16

A People’s Friendship

James Palmer
It takes a brave man to jump off a moving train for the sake of a sale, but the clothes hawkers had the easy courage of men who did this on the regular. I watched as they leapt off the front carriage as the train chugged into a station with no stop...

Media

10.29.15

Ai Weiwei Doesn’t Need Anyone to Give Him Legos

James Palmer
The noted Chinese artist and perennial dissident Ai Weiwei recently announced that Lego, a Denmark-based company, had refused his request to purchase more than a million of the tiny toy bricks for an Australian display of his work “Trace,” a...

Sinica Podcast

02.16.15

Business and F*cking in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week's show starts with us grilling James on "what you have to do to be part of Chinese business culture" and descends from there into stories of the sort of booze-and-ketamine-fuelled business deal-making that seems to consist...

Postcard

02.04.15

The Bro Code

James Palmer
Turning down an after-dinner invite to a brothel is always a social minefield. But the city’s Party Secretary, a 50-something man with baby-soft hands, had been gently fondling my thigh underneath the banquet table for the past 45 minutes, making me...

Conversation

01.16.15

Why Did The West Weep for Paris But Not for Kunming?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Taisu Zhang & more
In the days since the attacks that killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chinese netizens have watched the outpouring of solidarity. As our colleagues at Foreign Policy reported earlier this week, the...

Conversation

09.26.14

Should the U.S. Cooperate with China on Terrorism?

Richard Bernstein, Ely Ratner & more
Richard Bernstein: Of course, they should.  But can they?  Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in the United States, China has defined almost any dissent from its policies there as examples of international terrorism.  It...

Sinica Podcast

02.24.14

The Disabled in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by James Palmer and John Giszczack for a discussion of the disabled in China. Join us as we discuss how the Chinese language defines the concept of disability, what public attitudes are prevalent...

Conversation

02.13.14

Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China?

Enze Han, James Palmer & more
On December 31, President Xi Jinping appeared on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.” On January 15, Beijing officials detained Ilham Tohti, a leading Uighur economist and subsequently accused him of “separtist...

Postcard

09.25.13

The Strangers

James Palmer
In the winter of 2009, I was spending my weekends in the northeast Chinese city of Tangshan, and eating most of my food from the far-western province of Xinjiang. Like many minorities, the Uighur, the native people of Xinjiang, have made their chief...

Sinica Podcast

06.29.13

The Fate of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Bill Bishop swears by part of it. Jeremy Goldkorn swears regularly at it. Chances are you’ve got strong opinions on Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.) yourself, which is why we’re delighted to be joined by James Palmer this week, author of The...

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Topics: History, Law, Media, Politics