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China in Drag

Travels with a Cross-dresser

Michael Bristow

China in Drag by Michael Bristow

Approaching the end of his eight-year stay in Beijing, Michael Bristow decided he wanted to write about the country’s modern history. To assist him he asked for the help of his language teacher, who was born just two years after the communist party came to power in 1949. The changing fortunes of his life have mirrored the ups and downs of his country, which has moved from communist poverty to capitalist wealth in just a single generation. It came as a surprise though, to learn that the teacher was also a cross-dresser. Michael gradually realised that the teacher’s story is the story of modern China.

RRP: £8.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781910985908
Publication Date: 21/09/2017
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Michael Bristow
Michael Bristow is Asia/Pacific editor for the BBC World Service in London. He appears on radio and TV, commenting on developments in the world's fastest-changing region. For five years he...


‘A finely observed tale of one man and modern China. Fascinating and lovely.’

Mishal Husain

‘A hugely engaging, informative read, underpinned by Bristow’s journalistic rigour and specialist knowledge. It is also a very touching tribute to a special friendship.’

The Yorkshire Post

‘What a great book this is! A fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary Chinese people.’

The Burnley Express

‘A story of great insight which takes a long hard look at modern day China... Sensitive and emotional, a must-read.’

Transliving Magazine

‘Culturally and emotionally sensitive, Bristow has crafted a tale that's as informative as it is moving - a unique and endlessely fascinating exploration of life in another culture.’

Luke Marlowe, The Bookbag

‘I really enjoyed Michael’s book - funny, touching, insightful and I learned a lot about Chinese history & culture. Using the teacher’s life story as the narrative spine is an inspired technique and really works - I loved it.’

Wendy Homewood, documentary maker

‘The whole account made most interesting reading, with a fascinating story of the minds of contemporary Chinese, and in particular that of the teacher. I learnt a great deal from Michael’s observations and insights. I do think that a diplomat, about to take up a post in Beijing, and likewise a news correspondent, ought to read China in Drag before heading to China, to gain valuable insight into Chinese minds. ’

Peter Bazire, interned in China during WW2

‘A guiding star that navigates through the enigma of modern China... Bristow weaves in many of his reporting missions, detailing the realities of life under State control.’