The China Books Review is a digital magazine that publishes insightful, intelligent commentary on all things China books-related. We are a literary review for all general readers interested in China and the Sinophone world, covering politics, history, society, culture and fiction. Please read our opening letter for more context.
We are brought to you by Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and The Wire China. We publish reviews, essays, excerpts, profiles, dispatches and curated book lists, as well as a monthly podcast and occasional videos of book talks. We also maintain dynamic lists of recent, upcoming and bestselling China books, alongside editors’ picks from the pack (house illustrations by Ellie Foreman-Peck).
We were founded in 2023 by Orville Schell, a veteran China writer and Vice-President at Asia Society, and David Barboza, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and co-founder of The Wire China. Our editor is Alec Ash, an author of multiple China books and former editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books who lived in China from 2008-2022.
How often do you publish?
We are a biweekly publication, in both senses of the word. New articles drop twice a week: features (reviews, essays, excerpts, profiles, dispatches) on Thursdays; columns (book lists, bookshelves, archive picks, podcast, videos) on most Tuesdays. Every two weeks there is a new cover splash and newsletter mail-out. We take two weeks off at the end of December, and at the end of June.
What’s the best way to follow you?
Bookmark our homepage to see not just new articles, but updates to our dynamic book lists of upcoming, recent and bestselling books on and from China. Follow our Twitter (X) and Facebook to see what we’re publishing, reading and talking about. Our original artwork is on Instagram. Plug into our RSS feed to see all new posts when they are published. Best of all, sign up for our biweekly newsletter for the full round-up.
How do you decide which books to cover?
We endeavor to list all new China books, broadly conceived, on our dynamic book lists. Feature articles (reviews, essays, excerpts, curated lists) then selectively cover certain books, with a view to publishing content that adds original value to the conversation around China, including lesser-known topics or angles. We aspire to highlight diverse voices, including on Chinese-language books, without fear or favoritism.
How do you avoid favoritism?
We avoid publishing reviews by contributors with too close a personal connection to the author, or who have otherwise promoted their book. Please see our standards for more detail. Selections of which books to cover in feature articles are made solely with interest for the reader in mind. All contributors to the Review have full independence to voice their opinion of works, and we encourage both credit and criticism where due.
Do you make money?
No. We are a non-profit endeavor, and all content on the website is free to access. We make no money from advertisements or publishers, nor from affiliate commissions from book links. Occasionally we will use our announcement box to point readers to The Wire China, our sister site that does charge for access, but we are an independent outlet.
How are you funded?
We are jointly funded by Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, a non-profit dedicated to promoting an open and collaborative relationship between the United States and China, and The Wire Digital Inc., a New York-based news and data startup that publishes The Wire China and runs WireScreen, a software analytics platform providing data on Chinese companies and individuals.
Where are you based?
We publish out of Asia Society’s headquarters in New York, with a roster of contributors based all over the world, including many in China and other parts of Asia.
How can I get in touch?