WebHeader_Grove.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Make a gift to NHPR and have a Valentine's message to a loved one read on air!
Louisa Lim

Louisa Lim

Beijing Correspondent Louisa Lim is currently attending the University of Michigan as a Knight-Wallace Fellow. She will return to her regular role in 2014.

Based in Beijing, NPR foreign correspondent Louisa Lim finds China a hugely diverse, vibrant, fascinating place. "Everywhere you look and everyone you talk to has a fascinating story," she notes, adding that she's "spoiled with choices" of stories to cover. In her reports, Lim takes "NPR listeners to places they never knew existed. I want to give them an idea of how China is changing and what that might mean for them."

Lim opened NPR's Shanghai bureau in February 2006, but she's reported for NPR from up Tibetan glaciers and down the shaft of a Shaanxi coalmine. She made a very rare reporting trip to North Korea, covered illegal abortions in Guangxi province, and worked on the major multimedia series on religion in China "New Believers: A Religious Revolution in China." Lim has been part of NPR teams who multiple awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, a Peabody and two Edward R. Murrow awards, for their coverage of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 and the Beijing Olympics. She's been honored in the Human Rights Press Awards, as well as winning prizes for her multimedia work.

In 1995, Lim moved to Hong Kong and worked at the Eastern Express newspaper until its demise six months later and then for TVB Pearl, the local television station. Eventually Lim joined the BBC, working first for five years at the World Service in London, and then as a correspondent at the BBC in Beijing for almost three years.

Lim found her path into journalism after graduating with a degree in Modern Chinese studies from Leeds University in England. She worked as an editor, polisher, and translator at a state-run publishing company in China, a job that helped her strengthen her Chinese. Simultaneously, she began writing for a magazine and soon realized her talents fit perfectly with journalism.

NPR London correspondent Rob Gifford, who previously spent six years reporting from China for NPR, thinks that Lim is uniquely suited for his former post. "Not only does Louisa have a sharp journalistic brain," Gifford says, "but she sees stories from more than one angle, and can often open up a whole new understanding of an issue through her reporting. By listening to Louisa's reports, NPR listeners will certainly get a feel for what 21st century China is like. It is no longer a country of black and white, and the complexity is important, a complexity that you always feel in Louisa's intelligent, nuanced reporting."

Out of all of her reporting, Lim says she most enjoys covering stories that are quirky or slightly offbeat. However, she gravitates towards reporting on arts stories with a deeper significance. For example, early in her tenure at NPR, Lim highlighted a musical on stage in Seoul, South Korea, based on a North Korean prison camp. The play, and Lim's piece, highlighted the ignorance of many South Koreans of the suffering of their northern neighbors.

Married with a son and a daughter, Lim recommends any NPR listeners travelling to Shanghai stop by a branch of her husband's Yunnan restaurant, Southern Barbarian, where they can snack on deep fried bumblebees, a specialty from that part of southwest China. In Beijing, her husband owns and runs what she calls "the first and best fish and chip shop in China", Fish Nation.

  • Malcolm Turnbull was booted from his seat by conservatives in his party. It's the 4th time in the past decade that the country has removed its prime minister. Scott Morrison is the new prime minister.
  • The inventor of Pinyin, a system that converted Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died on Saturday. Zhou Youguang was 111 years old.
  • In his haunting new graphic novel, cartoonist Xie Peng, 36, captures a psychological journey into the world of young Chinese. He worked for six years on the book, which renders a landscape of competition, anxiety and stress, and where everything, including dignity, is a commodity.
  • In 2011, police detained Ai Weiwei for 81 days. Now, he's released a song that's turned the experience into a heavy metal protest song, along with a dystopian nightmare video. The lyrics are explicit and angry. Ai says his music is for the many political prisoners who remain jailed.
  • A massive 2008 temblor in Sichuan province killed some 90,000 Chinese and pointed to the poor construction practices in China. The rebuilding effort was supposed to showcase modern China. But today, many survivors are angry over what they say is official corruption, ranging from poor construction and unpaid workers to bribes and improper compensation for seized land.
  • Hundreds of police were deployed in southern Beijing Wednesday to quell a large protest after a migrant worker fell to her death at a clothing mall. Police say it was suicide, but there are reports the woman was gang-raped by security guards. Her family is asking for a proper investigation.
  • After local authorities got word of a planned environmental protest in the southwestern city of Chengdu, they decided to make Saturday a workday. Security personnel, meanwhile, converged on the city center in a display of force.
  • Chinese leaders and the state-run media keep talking about the Chinese dream. So NPR's Beijing bureau asked the Chinese to define their dreams. Here's what they said.
  • Touted in the state-run media, "the Chinese dream" is Beijing's latest official slogan. The man who made the phrase famous says it means China becoming the world's No. 1 superpower. But as censors scrub unapproved versions of the concept from the Internet, people wonder: Just whose dream is it anyway?
  • For several hours today, a story went viral on the Chinese Internet that the new Communist equivalent of the emperor, President Xi Jinping, had pulled an old trick from an imperial playbook and traveled incognito among ordinary citizens. The legend of The President Who Took a Taxi was quickly shut down.