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.


China: Beyond Borders
12:01 am
Mon June 20, 2011

China's Growing Military Muscle: A Looming Threat?

Stonecutters Island army base in Hong Kong opens to the public once a year as a goodwill gesture. Displays include kung fu demonstrations and shows of knife-fighting skills.
Louisa Lim NPR

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more.

At the Stonecutters Island army base in Hong Kong, camouflage-clad Chinese soldiers lunge forward with fierce yells, making stabbing motions with their daggers. There's a communal shout of admiration from the crowd watching the display on the army's home territory, which is opened up once a year to the public as a goodwill gesture.

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4:34 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Chinese Reopen Debate Over Chairman Mao's Legacy

Thousands of Chinese students holding Communist flags and a portrait of China's late leader Mao Zedong mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of China's Communist Party. Celebrations like this one come during a controversial moment, as leftist groups push back at criticism of Chairman Mao and the millions of deaths he caused.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 22, 2011 4:34 pm

As China prepares to mark the 90th anniversary of its Communist Party on July 1, there are signs of a new ideological struggle over former leader Mao Zedong's legacy.

The conflict is being played out online amid a backdrop of heightened nostalgia for the revolutionary days, as a young leftist takes on an elderly economist who dared to publicly criticize the founder of the People's Republic of China.

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3:00 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

A Dispute At Sea Escalates China, Vietnam Tensions

Protesters shout anti-China slogans in front of the Chinese Embassy in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Sunday.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Tensions are ratcheting up in the South China Sea after a confrontation between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels.

China said Tuesday it would not resort to the use of force. And in a message aimed at the U.S., it warned other countries to stay out of the escalating dispute.

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12:01 am
Thu June 9, 2011

Japanese Told To Beat The Heat With Hawaiian Shirts

"I would wear this if my company let me," says recruitment consultant Tomoyoki Chikawa.
Louisa Lim/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:46 am

At Japan's Environment Ministry, the atmosphere is almost preppy; it's full of fresh-faced young people in polo shirts, Crocs and even the odd Hawaiian shirt. This is the birthplace of Super Cool Biz, an energy-saving dress code designed to help ease power shortages following Japan's nuclear crisis, which could just lead to a revolution in Japanese office wear.

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Japan In Crisis
2:58 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Despite Radiation, Some Japanese Villagers Stay Put

Nisaka Mieko gathers chives, which have been contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident. She says she may lose $25,000 in crops, and hopes to plant some of the seeds next year.
Louisa Lim/NPR

Japan has doubled its estimate for the amount of radiation leaked by the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, but the process of evacuating the zone around the plant has not been smooth.

In some villages where evacuation orders have been issued, Japanese residents have stayed put.

The village of Iitate, about 20 miles from the plant, has radiation levels well above those considered safe. But it appears there are still quite a few people in the village, including one couple busy in their fields.

Salvaging Crops And Livestock

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