« In the gray areas of the economy | Main | A foreign reporter in China »

China Rises! (but without me)

All good things come to an end, and that is true today for myself and China Rises. This blog is taking a rest. At some point in the near future, a new McClatchy correspondent will arrive in China and likely take over this blog – certainly with a different perspective than my own.

It’s been nearly three years since I started the China Rises blog, and my family is on its sixth year in China. English-language blogs on the Middle Kingdom have exploded in that time, and there’s a huge variety to read.

I thank those who’ve found China Rises interesting. I can see from the IP locations that people from all corners of the world have taken an interest.

In my day job, writing news stories for McClatchy, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel nearly everywhere in China. As I look at the map, I see I’ve been to every province and autonomous region except Guizhou. For beauty, little surpasses Guangxi with its fabulous karst limestone outcroppings. I loved the rugged beauty of inner Fujian province, where my grandparents lived for five years. I also have very much liked the outlying borders of China: the forested areas near Tumen (where North Korea, China and Russia meet), the anything goes feel of Ruili on the border with Myanmar, Manzhouli on the border with Russia. The Wolong panda preserve in Sichuan was a lot of fun to see.

I regret not making it to the Dunhuang caves in Gansu Province, and to Heaven Lake up in the mountains near Urumqi in far west Xinjiang.

Some of the greatest fun were the cultural and social stories. When I inquired of the Sichuan Culinary Society for the spiciest food in the province, the chief promptly invited me to a feast of the best known and hottest Sichuan dishes. When I was in Ningxia autonomous region, I heard that local Hui Muslims were in high demand as Arab translators elsewhere in the country. That was interesting.

A personal highlight was making it up to Everest base camp. That made up for the numerous trips to Henan province, which seemed to invariably end up with my detention by local officials.

One time I certainly deserved to be detained. Writing about China’s military, I and an early assistant blundered down a highway from Dalian toward what we understood to be a naval museum. We missed signs that said it was off limits to foreigners. When we pulled up to the museum, several men came running for us – detained! Fine: About $100 for “illegal tourism.”

China has certainly left its mark on me. But it’s our two daughters who are most altered. Both consider Beijing home. We’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in their lives. The youngest one speaks like a native Chinese.

I’ll be engaged in a writing project here for a few more months about which I won’t go into details, then moving to a neighboring country for a few additional months before picking up a McClatchy job at a site yet to be determined. Thanks for reading.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference China Rises! (but without me):



Thanks Tim for your blog. I, like your many other readers, have been informed and entertained


Any tips for other recommendable blogs on China?

Buy Dissertation Online

Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!


writing a dissertation

Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up !!!


black is the color of death and mourning in the west, so if The Man is giving people a hard time in the streets about wearing white, switch to black, especially a black armband.

China sucks a fat one and should be burned to the ground and then bulldozed into a landfill along with all of the peckerwood old hands.


thank you for sharing a unique perspective of china, from the beautiful scenery to the chinese art. You will be missed.

Liz Mitchell

Do keep us updated on your next move and blog. Thanks for many insightful postings over the years!

the tank man

Pack up and go home, America is counting on you now !


Damn! Spend a few months away, and you snivel out on us. Good luck and may good fortune follow you! We'll be watching the new man to see if he keeps up the standards you've set.
(A lurker)

Account Deleted

Thank you so much for the wonderful time Tim.
Your blogs are really great. I couldn't think of someone other than you having so much passion for China.
You will always be missed and remembered.
Good luck to your new venture.

Wedding Favors


Just wanted to say hello and wish you well. I'm interested in seeing where you'll be assigned next, and reading your insights about that locale as well.

I know it takes time to develop contacts and get settled in when you're 'green,' then it's as if you know the country too well and ripe turns to rot so the writing and your eye isn't as fresh anymore. In a way, I can understand why journalists are reassigned by choice or by force.


Oh, I do hope the archives will continue to be available! Now that I no longer live in Hong Kong, where-ever will I get my China reports ?????

Best wishes to you and your family -- give yourselves time and patience to adjust to the shift in cultures. It can sneak up on you == a kind of reverse culture-shock.


Tim, it saddens me that you will be moving on. I have only started reading your blog for about half a year and this is my first comment. Yours is definitely one of the better China Blogs. I didn't agree with everything you wrote but I found your blog to be more balanced than many other reports (which are supposed to be more objective). Good luck in your future assignments.


Damn. I am going to miss your writings on China, both here on the blog and in the newspapers. It always hurts when a journalist who really understands China leaves. Best of luck wherever you end up.


Biologists said that on average all atoms on our body are replaced over a seven year period. By now Tim and his family have enough local Beijing atoms to wear the "Made In China" label. Their experiences of China will last a lot longer than the atoms. I am sure there are many fond memories.

Tim, thanks for the blog. Good luck on your future assignments and projects. May the harmonious wind fill your sail.


You've been one of my favorite China reporters (and bloggers), so it will be sad to see you go. Best of luck to you and your family!


Best Wishes Tim.
Your blog has always been a great source.

EK Obrien

Wow...you will be missed! I ran tours to China for 7 years and really enjoyed reading your perspective and keeping up with many of the places I escorted tour groups to. Best of luck in your mysterious future endeavors: I do hope that e new Tim Johnson blog rises out of that experience.

Olivia 2

Having lived in China for 5 years, your blog especially resonated. You captured the personality of your assignment as well as the factual information. It kept me in touch daily and as I read it, the sights, sounds and smells would come rushing back. Good luck in the future.


Many thanks for your blog postings. I've followed these for more than a year. Good luck with your next assignment!


Tim,good luck.
Reading your blog was my daily work,i can see some truth of China from your view.


Thanks for your great blog..best of luck with your new assignment.You will be missed by all of us on both sides of the political spectrum. Health and happiness to you and your family.


Good luck Tim and best wishes to you and your family.

To be frank, I regularly read here. You spent your time and mind here. No matter whether we agree to each other or not, you have been doing this truly, thank you and hope that you will be back one day.

Account Deleted

Gonna miss your insight on China Tim! All the best to you and your's!!!


Good luck.

on the other hand

Opinions do differ, and there will always be misinformation and biases (from all sides), but there are not many real anti-China people. Don't get worked up. And disagree when you disagree, but don't pick up fights, please.


I have not commented on your blog much, even though I read it almost everyday. I don't feel the urge to comment, because you are not a deliberate anti-China journalist.

Thank you, Tim, for all your understanding about China and relatively fair reporting.

Good luck!


Leaving so soon?

To bad, I have been this blog only for a few weeks. I don't agree mcuh of what Tim has to say about China. Looks like I'll have to pick fight with Tim's successor.

Good luck Tim with your next assignment.

on the other hand

Why do journalists have to circulate around different countries? I can understand the rule for diplomats, but why journalists. It takes time for a journalist to cultivate good access in a country, to learn the local ways, and to understand the country at a more sophisticated level; but once these have been achieved, you're assigned to a different country. What's the point? Of course, sometimes journalists themselves want to leave, but why make it a rule for everybody?

on the other hand

The above comment, in which 'ethanic' appeared twice, is interesting.

Anyway, like many commenters above, I've enjoyed Tim's blog posts, even though I've disagreed with Tim occasionally. You're clearly one of the more cool-headed and yet passionate journalists covering China. I hope you're not offended by the sometimes harsh tones of the commenters.

I'm sorry for your detentions in China. Hopefully there will be fewer such things in the future. I hopy your family, especially your daughters, have enjoyed the life here. I remember one of your daughters sang in the olympics opening ceremonies. How marvelous. The other is going to college this fall, right? I wish both of them, and you and your wife of course, wonderful life journeys ahead.



Obviously, the blogs failed to attract interests from readers in USA. People in USA nowdays worry more about the financial crisis and their jobs. Nobody cares ethanic problems in China, by the time more than 60 people were gun down in last two months in USA. The price of social problems in US is by no means lower than that of ethanic confict in China.

Wish you good luck! Tim.



Thank you for sharing your life in China with us. Despite your differences on certain things (probably not as much as I think), your blog is a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed it.

Good luck with your new endeavors, wherever they lead you to. So long and you will be missed.


we shall miss you for your insightful blog and a colorful depiction of chinese civil life


Tim -

Best of luck for your future endeavours. I have enjoyed reading your blog and the discussions that followed.

Unfortunately for me, I now have to find another blog for mental breaks at work... argh~


Tim, even though I don't agree with you on a number of issues, I still thank you for your eforts.
Good luck


Tim, I hope that '"neighboring country" is Vietnam. I think you would find an interesting contrast here in Vietnam after life in China.

Gareth Powell

The blog has been essential reading for me for some years. It is at the top of the China folder in my bookmarks. Elegantly written, always interesting. I shall miss it.


I read this post with a tinge of sadness, knowing that you’ll leave China. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your insightful and interesting blogs I’ve been reading in the past two years. I still remember the first time I came across this blog—it was something of a eureka moment. And I instantly added the blog to my bookmark and made it a must read. On this blog, I get to know the real stories, insights and analyses, with an added benefit of honing my English skills.

You’ll be sorely missed. All the best of luck to you in your future career!


Reading Tim's blogs is always interesting, sometimes even breathtaking. Some viewpoints from your posts bring us Chinese readers different ideas. Maybe I can not accept all your opinion, but it is nice to try to understand each other. Anyway thank you Tim for your good job, hope you a nice trip in the following months.
God bless you always.


Thank you Tim for your blog. I, like your many other readers, have been informed and entertained. You write with such folksy humor.

Good luck on your future assignments.


Tim, I've only had the privilege of following your blog for the past year, but your commentary and insight will be missed.

Glad you were able to make it up to Xinjiang. Most people just remember Xinjiang as the desert province, but I'm glad you were able to experience a beautiful lake.

Take care wherever you and your family end up.

G.E. Anderson

Tim, your blog has been among my favorites for a couple of years. I will miss your interesting commentary. Best wishes with your book and your new posting.

Elliott Ng

Wow, thanks for writing this great blog. You will be missed!
Elliott Ng


I have been following your blog for about 2 years and have always loved your perspective, insight and honesty.

I was an English teacher in JingZhou, Hubei for about a year and a half. It was a wonderful time. Reading your blog during that time and when i got home was such a great way to connect with another guy that speaks English.

Thank for the all the blogs,and I hope you are blessed as you continue to write.



Thank you for your always interesting comments. Though I have not been to China, my son went for study abroad. Both he and I have followed your blog. Best wishes in your new assignment.

The comments to this entry are closed.



"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

Send Tom a story suggestion.

Read Tom's stories at news.mcclatchy.com.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomLasseter

Follow Tom on Google Plus

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
              1 2
    3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    10 11 12 13 14 15 16
    17 18 19 20 21 22 23
    24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Photo Albums