I spent five years in Mainland China between 2007 and 2014 – writing, teaching English, and studying Mandarin.

I researched and wrote Paint By Numbers: China’s Art Factory from Mao to Now while living in Shanghai from 2008 to 2011, published by Earnshaw Books (Hong Kong) in October 2014. It tells the story of Chinese art’s thirty year journey through the Mao era to modern day market darling, through interview-led narratives. I drew a line shortly after the disappearance of artist Ai Weiwei (and a host of other “dissidents”) in April 2011, a few months after I had interviewed him.

You’ll find selected excerpts from the book condensed into a longform article on Compass Cultura.

I took part in this eTV documentary on South Africans in China, which provided an interesting opportunity for self-reflection at the end of three years in Shanghai.

For somewhat more self-indulgent reflections on China, you can read about being a Writer in Transit between China, India and Thailand on my travelogue, Old World Wandering.

One of the more journalistic pieces to emerge from my travels is this interview that I conducted with a member of China’s Forgotten Army in northern Thailand (Chinese, with English subtitles).

While in Beijing, I found myself in front of a camera again – this time as a somewhat unwitting token Chinese speaker for a programme funded by Shandong’s Tourism Department. Feel free to watch it here:

I have contributed to several publications which educate China’s high-net-worth individuals about offshore banking and investment opportunities abroad. My features have covered subjects ranging from the internationalisation of the RMB, to Hong Kong’s property bubble, and outbound Chinese tourism.

Since returning to South Africa, my focus has steadily turned towards the Chinese in Africa. I am currently researching a story about some of the Continent’s key Confucius Institutes from the multiple perspectives of students, teachers, and locals.

Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss collaborating on an Africa or China-based project.

You can find out a little more about me here, and a full CV on Linked In. | @clairevdh