Lijia Zhang, the author of “Socialism is Great” and “Lotus,” , was recently interviewed by “Pieces of China” online series on her self-transformation, which began in the missile factory where she worked in the early 1980s, and discuss how learning English at night helped open her mind and break out into a career as an internationally acclaimed writer and journalist. She also shares how English has helped millions of Chinese forge important bonds with the world, and how attitudes toward learning English are changing today.
Watch the video below for the whole interview:
Lijia Zhang, skilled journalist, author, social commentator and speaker comes from humble beginnings. Born and raised on the banks of the Yangtze River, Lijia Zhang was pulled out of school at the age of 16 to work at a factory that produced inter-continental missiles. As an escape route, she taught herself English and dared to pursue her childhood dream of studying journalism.
In her long career as a journalists, Lijia Zhang’s features, features, often very human stories about the plight of China’s “little people”, have been published in South China Morning Post, Far Eastern Economic Review, Japan Times, The Independent, The Observer, Newsweek and The New York Times. Her widely acclaimed English-language memoir, “Socialism is Great!” detailed her journey from being a rocket factory girl to a prominent social commentator. Her inspiring tale of great transformation and views on China through the years have been featured on the BBC, Channel 4, ABC (Australian) CNN, CBS and National Public Radio, among others.
Lijia Zhang has been described by Tony Blair as “an inspiring example of promoting the understanding between China and Britain” in his keynote speech during his state visit to China (1998), has been voted one of the “40 Beijing heroes” by TimeOut Beijing (October, 2008), a subject of a BBC documentary Peschardts People (May 2009) and the recipient of the prestigious International Writer’s Program, University of Iowa, sponsored by the US State Department (2009).
Lijia Zhang‘s speaking topics include:
- “Socialism is Great!”
- Understanding Business Culture
- Developing a Better Understanding of China’s Past to Better Comprehend Present Day Reforms
- The Changing Role of Women in China
- Frog in a Well