Seeing Red in China – The Book

Dear Readers,

I just wanted to let you know that I am starting work on a book. At the moment it is in the very early stages, and I am writing this open letter partially to put pressure on myself to complete it.

The book will be similar to the blog in some ways, as I will discuss a variety of topics that have already been mentioned briefly here including: education, rural life, issues facing migrant workers, the environment, and also a touch of politics, history and economics. I am also planning on a few topics that I have a closer connection with, like the difficulties facing disabled people in China and the Rape of Nanking. These topics will be presented in more depth than on the blog, and include more personal experiences and discussions with Chinese friends. It will also include a bit of my personal history to clarify my evolving relationship with China. The book will be almost entirely new content.

If there are other specific topics you’d like me to tackle in this book, please leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

At the moment, I don’t have a publisher lined-up (publishers can contact me at:, but this is something that I have been wanting to do for some time now and I’ll figure out those pesky details when the time comes. I plan on continuing the publishing schedule on the blog (currently 8-9 posts per week), but I reserve the right to skip a day now and then to focus on the book.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your interest so far in, I never expected so much support so quickly. We are now seeing over 40,000 visitors each month, far beyond what I initially dreamed for this site, and somehow it continues to grow. I would also like to thank my wife for editing (she is wonderful), as well as Yaxue and Casey who continue to contribute great content and push me to keep writing.

Thank you again for your continuing support, and I hope when completed, this book will provide you with an even more complete view of the country that has become my second home.


19 responses to “Seeing Red in China – The Book”

  1. Albert Munro says:

    Good luck!
    Yes I shall def. buy a copy.
    Albert Munro Scotland

  2. Discovered your blog through The Economist. Been reading for a few weeks. Rather enjoyable. Hope the book can expand on some of the topics covered thus far.

  3. Hugh Grigg says:

    Looking forward to it. 加油!

  4. Tim says:

    This, my friend, sounds amazing. I’ve been out of the China loop for a couple of months now – I needed a Middle Kingdom news break. But Yan and I are heading to the States next Monday. I can’t wait to read said book. Chalk me up for an early edition if you need some editors. 🙂

  5. Thats great! Happy writing to you!

  6. markwalker1 says:

    Don’t be afraid to include some of the material already posted. Lots of good stuff there.

  7. Lao Why? says:

    You have a great talent for writing clearly and engagingly. Looking forward to seeing the book. I think you should take the best of the blogger comments and use them as quotes for chapter headings:-)

  8. Can’t wait to read it!

  9. Meryl Mackay aka 马美丽 says:

    I’ll definitely buy a copy Tom! I have learned so much from your Blog and by association, from other writers too. Keep writing. I havn’t felt so excited and involved since I discovered Peter Hessler’s writing about ten years ago! Best wishes to you and your wife.

  10. adoptive mom says:

    I’ve only been aware of your blog for about 1-2 months but have enjoyed everything you write. I will definitely buy the book. I am an American adoptive mother of a daughter born in China in 2003 and adopted in 2005. Recently there have been a lot of online news articles about the “not-so-rosy” side of international adoption, like the Hunan trafficking stories and family planning confiscations in Hunan and Guizhou provinces. I would love to learn more about what the typical Chinese person thinks about all this and if they have any personal experience with the issue (having to give up an overquota child or been pressured to give up an over quota child.) I know it is a sensitive subject and may not be very easy to bring up in conversation.

  11. Tobler says:

    This is amazing news! Funnily I was just recently thinking about asking you wheter you don’t want to write a book. I’ve been following your amazing blog in silence for some time now, but this deserves a comment. All the best with it! I’m looking forward…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Go for it, Tom!

  13. Pete Nelson says:


    Let me add my encouragement. I thoroughly enjoy your writing (and that of your co-bloggers), and I have learned a ton about China reading the articles posted here. I like that you try to present China and the issues in China in a fair and balanced manner, and I am confident that your book will continue this. Thanks for a great blog, and good luck with the book. Also, as a couple of others have mentioned, if you would like someone to read early drafts of your book, I would be happy to do so.

  14. Lao Why? says:

    In terms of topics that I would like you to write about, I personally would love to see a whole book on the topic of communication and “face” and how it works in China. For example, any complex organization requires communication, the clearer and more inclusive the better. Communication, western style, is open, logical and confrontative. (Of course, there are those in the west that hide things, back stab, etc, etc.)

    My experience is Communication China style happens differently. A lot of secret meetings, a lot of subtle dropping of phrases and hints sprinkled in a lot of happy talk. Key people are informed. The informal knowledge/rumor network starts up. Even though no official pronouncement of a decision happens until very late, people just seem to know. When there are public meetings, they are ostensibly for show and there is a lot of blah blah with flowery words but no substance. No one addresses the big problem (the elephant in the room).

    And then, just every once in a while, all the happy talk and “face giving” breaks down and people get vicious and start throwing things (usually verbal jabs) at each other. I’ve often likened this phenomenon to a dam breaking. Water builds up (in the form of a lot of stress from avoiding confrontation and saying nice things about people you cannot stand) and then the dam breaks and it all comes crashing out in a full fledged vebal food fight.

    Just my two cents on what would be an interesting topic.

    • Meryl Mackay aka 马美丽 says:

      I agree with Lao Why?. Please write on the topic of communication and “face” in China. An interesting topic indeed!

  15. Sara says:

    Finally! I have noticed that I don’t always have the time to read your blog, but I would love to read all those things in a book. So I have been waiting for this. Good luck with the project, I know it’s not an easy one.

  16. I’ll be sure to buy a signed copy of your book, Tom.

  17. Charlie says:

    Awesome. I’m sure you’ll knock it out of the park.

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