James Palmer
Writer

James Palmer is a British writer and editor. He is the author of The Death of Mao: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Birth of the New China (2012) and The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia (2008). He lives in Beijing.

Written by James Palmer

A resident of the 6th floor of an apartment block gazes at the damage after the balcony fell from his 13 year old apartment in Shenyang, China. Photo by Stringer/Reuters

Essay/
Making
Chabuduo! Close enough …

Your balcony fell off? Chabuduo. Vaccines are overheated? Chabuduo. How China became the land of disastrous corner-cutting

James Palmer

Photo by David Gray/Reuters

Essay/
Information and communication
All-seeing, all-knowing

Since imperial times Chinese governments have yearned for a perfect surveillance state. Will big data now deliver it?

James Palmer

11-year-old He Zili’s grandfather cries as he holds his mentally disabled grandson’s foot. Zili’s family say that they have no choice but to restrain him as he tends to attack those around him. November 27, 2013. Photo by William Hong/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
Crippling injustice

Disabled people in modern China are still stigmatised, marginalised and abused. What hope is there for reform?

James Palmer

Photo by Redux/eyevine

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Kept women

Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?

James Palmer

Facial acupuncture is administered to a patient in Beijing. Photo by Justin Jin/Panos

Essay/
Medicine
Do some harm

Traditional Chinese medicine is an odd, dangerous mix of sense and nonsense. Can it survive in modern China?

James Palmer

Shanghai, July 2012. All photos by Bruno Barbey/Magnum

Essay/
Demography and migration
The balinghou

Chinese parents bemoan their children’s laziness and greed, but this generation of young people has had enough

James Palmer