Sinica Podcast

A weekly discussion of current affairs in China with journalists, writers, academics, policy makers, business people and anyone with something compelling to say about the country that's reshaping the world. A SupChina production, hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn.


Peter Hessler live at the NEXTChina 2021 Conference in New York

This week on Sinica, a live show taped on November 11 at the fourth annual NEXTChina Conference at the China Institute in New York, featuring Peter Hessler. Pete returned to the U.S. from Chengdu over the summer after his contract at Sichuan University, where he was teaching journalism and freshman composition, was not renewed. His departure sparked speculation about government displeasure at his reporting for The New Yorker — despite earlier criticism that his coverage of China's COVID-19 response had been too favorable to Beijing. Pete joins Kaiser and Jeremy to discuss his latest book, The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution, his approach to writing on China, his interactions with his students, and the real reasons for his departure from China.

3:18 – How Egypt sheds light on China

7:00 – Language-learning as a device in Pete Hessler's writing

9:50 – How Pete kept in touch with over 100 students from Fuling — the making of a longitudinal cohort study

18:33 – How Pete is viewed in China vs. in Egypt

25:10 – Pete's writing on Chinese entrepreneurship

29:02 – Why Pete & Leslie moved to Chengdu — and why they had to leave

A transcript of this podcast is available on

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 2021-11-18  39m