Audrey Jiajia Li

Audrey Jiajia Li

Audrey is a contributor to Inkstone. she is a freelance columnist and independent filmmaker from Guangzhou, China.

The xenophobic undercurrents of the Hong Kong protests
Late last month, Jiayang Fan, a Chinese-American journalist, was harassed and interrogated by some demonstrators after she spoke Mandarin while covering the anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Derogatory insults and accusations like “yellow thug” and “commie agent” were thrown at her. “My Chinese face is a liability,” she tweeted, “just got asked if I’m from the US and am a reporter why I have Chinese face.” On September 18, the 88th anniversary of the Japanese invasion of northeastern China, a poster celebrating the event, presumably posted by some protesters, was seen on the “democracy wall” at the University of Hong Kong. “This is the first time I see people fighting for democracy by g
Hong Kong protesters must not become the monsters they are fighting
As someone who calls Guangzhou home, I have for years sympathized with Hong Kong protesters’ pursuit of freedom and democracy, and shared their frustration with the authorities’ encroachment on political freedom in the territory. Over the past few weeks, however, I have grown increasingly concerned about the apparent radicalization of the movement. Last week, a video of young demonstrators jostling and swearing at an elderly man who arrived at the airport went viral. There were conflicting stories as to how the incident began, some of which pointed to how he reacted to a protest poster. Regardless of how we feel about his behavior, it was disgraceful for a crowd to harass a lone elderly trav
College scandal a cautionary tale for crazy rich Chinese
“Those more outstanding than you also work harder.” This is a trendy aspirational phrase in China in the digital era, meant to remind people who do not come from well-to-do families that the only way they can catch up is by working hard. Had the Stanford University admissions scandal involving, among others, sophomore Zhao “Molly” Yusi not made headlines, she would still be looked up to as living testimony of how diligence alone pays off in the end. But last week, the fairy tale unraveled. It turned out that Zhao’s “hard work” combined with $6.5 million that her parents paid to college consultant William “Rick” Singer, the largest such payment that has come to light, probably got her into St
China needs the confidence to embrace the freckle
For those paying attention to China’s social media, it’s hard not to notice that the accusation of “insulting China” has been increasingly common in recent years. In the latest case, a new cosmetics advertisement for the Spanish fashion house Zara featuring a Chinese model has stirred up debate on the topic of “uglifying China.” Since the ad “Beauty is Here” was released on China’s Twitter-like Weibo last week, a number of angry Chinese internet users have accused the company of defaming China by depicting model Li Jingwen’s face with little make-up and clearly visible freckles. “You spent such an effort searching for a model with freckles, just like finding a needle in the haystack. How ha
More and more, overseas Chinese fear the long arm of Beijing
When I received an invitation from the East–West Center to co-host a panel discussion during its International Media Conference last month in Singapore, on the current status of press freedom in China, I expected some confrontation from the audience. But I was certainly not prepared for what actually took place at the event. As the panel concluded, a woman in the audience, without raising her hand to request permission from the moderator to speak, started to shout at me: “What’s your nationality? Are you Chinese? What university did you study at?” The seemingly irrelevant questions baffled the audience. She then identified herself as a professor at one of the “top universities” in China, an