We’re putting out a call for contributors for a YCW-supported book project entitled New Voices: Collection of Essays on Contemporary Chinese Economy and Society.

Why this book now?

This is a period in Chinese history in which thirty years of rapid economic and social change have now led China to a unique juncture in its history. The decisions and issues facing the Chinese economy and society today are fundamentally different from those in its modern history to date. Collectively, the actions taken today will determine the course of China’s future in the coming decades. We want to capture the rich complexities of Chinese society from the ground up, from the fresh perspective of young, professionals with extensive experience in China.

Lead editors: Ran Xu and Frank Tsai

First deadline: Topical essay due March 31st, 2015. Submit to book@youngchinawatchers.com
[2-3 paragraph description of essay/topic of interest and why this is relevant to contemporary Chinese society or economy. Submission guidelines and requirements below.]

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Who are we looking for?

Currently, China employs a large group of young professionals from many different countries and backgrounds, here to engage with the economic and society of China in a hands-on way. They have lived and worked in this newly modernized China in the last five to ten years, and engage in it professionally.

Our ideal candidate:

He/she is either a long-term resident/expat in China or a local Chinese with extensive professional experience abroad. Broadly speaking, contributors should range from 25-45 in age and from 4-10 years of China experience if he/she is an expat (and similar time abroad if a local Chinese). He/she should be able to write deeply on China with a global perspective. Essays will be in English, between 5,000-8,000 words long. Ten essays will be selected for the book.

Our intellectual perspective:

We seek to engage contributors with insights in an intellectual space between those of academics and practitioners. They will have long-term, on-the-ground knowledge of China, and thus be different from scholars of China, who often lack tangible business/market experience, and whose questions usually don’t arise out of their lived experience of China. At the same, we aim to draw the reader’s attention to some of the more enduring themes in Chinese society, ones that writers on China business or industry almost never address. We aim to provide a nuanced, on-the-ground perspective generated by a new generation of China Watchers.

Submission guidelines for contributors:

– Insights should be of the on-the-ground, from-the-bottom variety, rather than the top-down macro-analysis of many China Watchers abroad. We emphasize modesty of analysis, i.e. understanding some phenomenon well, not “forecasts” that put forth bold but simplistic statements of China’s future. Instead, we encourage forward-looking and personal views of “what it all means” for the China. An example of an unsuitable thesis: Wealthy Chinese buying houses overseas will cause elites to abandon China, leading to its collapse. Instead, we would want a more nuanced view of why Chinese are moving overseas now, how their motivations differ, and any statistics to support the story, with an inclusion of underlying social/economic/political factors absent from narrower business/political commentary.

– Articles will be roughly divided into two categories — “society” or “business/economics.” However, they should contain both hard and soft elements. Thus, an essay on Chinese society with a personal narrative and anecdotes should also have supporting elements that are “hard,” i.e. facts and figures. Similarly, essays on business/economics, which may have more “hard” facts and figures already, should also discuss the “soft” social implications.

– We encourage essays to start narrowly and end with broader implications. In other words, they should start from one small facet of China (e.g. HR issues or migrant workers’ income) and in the progression of the essay expand to the larger questions facing Chinese society.

– We encourage the inclusion of personal experience. At the same time, the tone should be objective and convey a balance of the hard/soft elements mentioned above. Writing about your own stake in your topic/industry is also effective, if well-integrated into the essay.

Call for Contributors for “New Voices: Collection of Essays on Contemporary Chinese Economy and Society”
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