Zhang Lijia by Fantake via Flickr

Zhang Lijia, the author of the wildly successful ““Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China” recently got her long-overdue lemma in the world’s online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and she guided the Lonely Planet Magazine through her home-town Beijing.

Fergal Keane of the Lonely Planet Magazine was guided through Beijing by Zhang Lijia.

Like so many of the capital’s residents, Lijia is not a native. She was brought up in the old imperial capital Nanjing, in the Yangtze Delta. Her story is typical of modern China’s narrative of change. She was a promising student with a love of English literature, but poverty forced her to leave school at 16 to become a factory worker. Within a decade, though, as China’s economic reforms created opportunities for the young and energetic, she quit the industrial drudgery and moved to Beijing.
I met her when she was translating for foreign journalists at the beginning of her own career as a writer; she was a young woman with a hearty laugh and an irreverent sense of humour. Fifteen years later she is the respected author of a
best-selling memoir, the ironically titled Socialism is Great, is writing a novel on prostitution and also acts as a guide
for travellers who want to experience Beijing’s rich intellectual heritage. ‘If you come here as a tourist, the danger is that you only get the big hotels, the shopping malls and a quick tour of the Forbidden City or the old Summer Palace,’ she says.

More in Lonely Planet Magazine.

Here is her lemma in Wikipedia

Zhang Lijia recently started a weblog, you can find it here.

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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