Sit To Hug

This is the hoarding outside the building site just down our road. And yes, it reads, 'Sit To Hug The Third Foreign Culture Embassy Adhering." Then it gives a "VIP hotline" number, presumably for VIPs interested in renting space. I have no more idea than you do wh… more »

Another Kind(le) of Revolution

I remember talking to publishers just two or three years ago about e-books and digital downloads, and I was surprised how little excitement there was, as though all that was happening in another universe. Perhaps this is the reason - ebooks are bypassing publishers. I'm not … more »


The authories here have reacted with deep insecurity to the events in North Africa and the Middle East. Foreign journalists have been harrassed and warned not to report on any protest - this despite the fact that only a tiny number of people appear interested in protesting.... The annual parliamenta… more »

The Whole Story

I find, when I am writing, that my imagination is decidely unimaginative when it comes to names. I keep coming up with the same little coterie of names, the Seans, Bens, Terrys, Roses, Janes and Lauras. I have to keep checking whether I used exactly the same name for my villain in my first book.... … more »

The Year of the Rabbit

Beijing entered the Year of the Rabbit with its normal explosive enthusiasm for Chinese New Year. Our very wealthy neighbour - or, at least, his very wealthy family, the very wealthy neighbour himself being in jail - let off fireworks rivalling the entire firepower of a world war just feet from our … more »


One afternoon in Chaoyang Park, one bride decided to take her wedding pictures in the Laser Tag area:

Some children indulged in Paratroop Ice Cream:

Of those who entered through the entrance:

Some never came out, and instead went into business:

Many who threw r… more »

Sloppy Psych

 This is typical of a certain kind of report about gender difference which drives me up the wall. It describes research which involved showing men pictures of women, and women pictures of men, and measuring how long it took each to come to a decision about whether they were attracted to them. M… more »

Two Endorsements

Nothing about China, a little bit about books, a little bit about writing. There are stringent controls on the import of foreign books here, and those that do get in are hugely expensive. We've tried Amazon, but the postal costs are outrageous. So when a friend told me that  www.bookdeposi… more »

A Trampoline Rewoven

We once had a garden. Now we have two rabbits, Dusty and Lily, who have laid waste to one quarter of the the lawn. They are trying to burrow to Australia where they have been led to believe there are endless golden fields of carrots awaiting immigrant Chinese rabbits. I personally laid waste to anot… more »

The Art of Law

I have started writing a new book, and it's not set in China. In the interests of research I'm reading the memoirs of Michael Mansfield, Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer ,and of Geoffrey Robertson The Justice Game. Both books are fantastic reads. These are men who know how to tel… more »