Ian Johnson

Writer focusing on civil society, culture, and religion; fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Travels from Berlin

Awarded with a Pulitzer prize, Ian Johnson worked for twelve years for the Wall Street Journal as feature writer and bureau chief. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and National Geographic.

He is the winner of the 2016 Shorenstein Journalism Award.

His book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao was published in April 2017. His latest book China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future (September 2023) has become another ground-shaking document on China’s recent history.

After three years as a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations in New Year, he will start as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, writing a new book on the misuses of religion in Xi’s China in the summer of 2024.

He has been coming to and living in China since 1984, longer than almost any other foreign journalist. He can cover a wide range of subjects including China’s economic prospects, foreign relations, elite politics, migration. He is fluent in English, Chinese and German. In 2020 he had to leave China after his journalism visa was withdrawn.

On migration, he notes: “Migration is probably one of the most important topics relating to China’s future. Getting it right means getting China’s economic future right.” He wrote a five-part series for the New York Times on migration in 2013 and 2014. This series won a citation for excellent from the Asia Society in 2014.

An expelled journalist returns to China (2023 – podcast)

A counterhistory of China (2023)

2019: The return of religion to China

2018: Twenty years of change in China: Ian Johnson speaks in Bratislava

Here are some recent articles by Ian Johnson.

The global reach of the Muslim brotherhood

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