Susan Jakes is Editor of ChinaFile and Senior Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

From 2000-2007, she reported on China for Time magazine, first as a reporter and editor based in Hong Kong and then as the magazine’s Beijing Correspondent.

She covered a wide range of topics for Time’s international and domestic editions, including student nationalism, human rights, the environment, public health, education, architecture, kung fu, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, and the making of Bhutan’s first feature film. Jakes was awarded the Society of Publishers in Asia’s Young Journalist of the Year Award for her coverage of Chinese youth culture. In 2003, she broke the story of the Chinese government’s cover-up of the SARS epidemic in Beijing, for which she received a Henry Luce Public Service Award. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications.

Jakes is fluent in Mandarin and holds a B.A. and M.A. from Yale in history. Her doctoral studies at Yale, which she suspended to join ChinaFile, focused on China’s environmental history and the global history of ecology.

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Last Updated: August 13, 2016



“It’s Time for Us To Set a New Political Agenda for Hong Kong”

Jonathan Landreth, Susan Jakes & more
Last month, midway through a whirlwind tour of United States universities, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong took a break for a crab cake and mac-and-cheese lunch at a Manhattan brasserie. Wong, 19, came to international prominence during the...



A Day to Remember/A Day Forgotten

Susan Jakes
China’s suppression of the memory of the June 4 massacre of demonstrators in Beijing in 1989 is a perennial and important subject of commentary. Much written on the subject is excellent, but little I’ve seen describes repressed memory in action as...



On “Strange Stones,” a Discussion with Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler, Michael Meyer & more
On May 21st at the Asia Society in New York City, Peter Hessler, author of the recently published Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West, discussed his book and a decade of writing about China and elsewhere with author, Michael Meyer and...



Why Is a 1995 Poisoning Case the Top Topic on Chinese Social Media?

Rachel Lu, Andrew J. Nathan & more
With a population base of 1.3 billion people, China has no shortage of strange and gruesome crimes, but the attempted murder of Zhu Ling by thallium poisoning in 1995 is burning up China’s social media long after the trails have gone cold. Zhu, a...



Why Is Chinese Soft Power Such a Hard Sell?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Donald Clarke & more
Jeremy Goldkorn:Chairman Mao Zedong said that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, and he knew a thing or two about power, both hard and soft. If you have enough guns, you have respect. Money is the same: if you have enough cash, you can buy guns...



Bird Flu Fears: Should We Trust Beijing This Time?

David Wertime, Yanzhong Huang & more
David Wertime:A new strain of avian flu called H7N9 has infected at least seven humans and killed three in provinces near the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, with the first death occurring on March 4. Meanwhile, in the last month, about 16,000 pigs...