The Book of the Week is “Apologies to My Censor” by Mitch Moxley, published in 2013. In this ebook, the author, a Canadian journalist, describes the six years he spent in Beijing.
Moxley arrived in Beijing the spring of 2007 to work at an English-language state-owned newspaper. The reporting was limited to upbeat topics. Articles on Taiwan, Tibet or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre contained propaganda rather than true statements. Ironically however, in everyday conversation, the Chinese people were brutally honest.
Many foreigners– who were paid triple the Chinese natives– worked at the paper at the time. In order for any native to prevail at a journalism career, joining the Communist Party was mandatory. This involved attending Party conferences on some weekends. For a short while, the author played basketball with his colleagues. When the Chinese players took a breather, they smoked courtside.
While in China, Moxley did various kinds of labor, more than just journalism. Most were unfulfilling for him. He engaged in the lucrative trades of: reading while having his voice recorded for the creation of English-language education-materials; posing as a foreign businessman working for a Chinese company for public relations purposes; and acting, dancing or singing in various videos to be broadcasted on the internet or TV.
Read the book to learn about the author’s life in Beijing– his workplace, living quarters, recreation, social life and romantic pursuits, and half-hearted attempts to learn Chinese– and his ambivalence about returning to Toronto.