As a lover of China and its culture I’m proud to be what the Chinese themselves approvingly call a Zhongguo tong—what we might call a Sinologist or an 'old China hand'.
My travels to China began in 1991 when I first crossed the border from Hong Kong as a student of Mandarin, and over the years I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been drawn back. I’ve spent time in most of the nation’s provinces and regions, visited its four most distant compass points, and navigated the entire 1,115 miles of the Grand Canal from Hangzhou to Beijing.
A single lifetime isn’t enough to do justice to a country larger than continental Europe, with 3,000 years of recorded history and 1.3 billion inhabitants, but each year I try to add a few new pages to my travel diary.
Since 2001 I’ve been writing about my experiences of a changing, modern China. My first book Green Dragon, Sombre Warrior was published by John Murray. My second book, The Emperor's River, is published by Eye Books.