NüVoices London Presents: China’s underground sex industry and Lotus with Lijia Zhang

NüVoices London is excited to invite you to a night of lively discussion with board member Lijia Zhang on her book Lotus and China’s massive underground sex industry. The event will be moderated by board member and Hong Kong writer Jessie Lau.

Lijia will talk about how she gained insight into the trade that formed the basis of her debut novel, Lotus, which is inspired by her grandma, a former prostitute. It is a story of a young migrant-worker-turned-prostitute as she carves out a life for herself in Shenzhen, China’s ‘City of Sins’. In addition to some fascinating and colourful anecdotes, Lijia will discuss the deeply-flawed current legal system tasked with managing the social problem, such as ‘custody and education’, similar to the notorious ‘laogai’; how the working girls have often been brutally treated; the broad social issues that have led to the spectacular rise of China’s sex industry, and the growing gender inequality in the reform era. Lotus has been featured by the BBC’s World Book, and was listed on NPR’s list of Great Reads in 2017.

RSVP via Eventbrite required

WHERE: G51a (Ground Floor, SOAS Main Building), SOAS.

WHEN: Thursday, November 7

The event will begin at 6:30pm, and will be followed by a Q&A and book signing. Copies of Lotus will be available at a discounted rate (We will be accepting cash, bank transfer or WeChat pay).

About Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang is a factory-worker-turned writer, social commentator and public speaker. One of the few Chinese who write regularly in English for international publications, her articles have appeared in The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, Newsweek and The New York Times. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Socialism Is Great!” about her decade-long experience of working at a rocket factory in Nanjing and her debut novel Lotus, on prostitution in contemporary China, was published by Macmillan and was featured by BBC radio’s World Book Club. She is a recipient of the prestigious fellowship on the International Writer’s Program at the University of Iowa. Lijia has lectured at many conferences, institutions and universities around the world, including Asia EU Economic Forum, European Institute for Asian Studies, The University of Sydney, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Oxford. She is a regular speaker on the BBC, Channel 4, CNN and NPR. She divides her time between London and Beijing.

About Jessie Lau

Jessie Lau is a writer from Hong Kong exploring identity, human rights and politics. Her writing has been published by The Economist, The Diplomat Magazine and Quartz, among others. She serves as Board Member and Online Editor-in-Chief at NüVoices, a collective supporting women working on China subjects. Formerly a Hong Kong and China reporter with the South China Morning Post, she holds a MSc from the London School of Economics, an LLM from Peking University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. Website: www.laujessie.com. Twitter: @_laujessie

Hosted by Aki Elborzi (SOAS)