Wish Lanterns – Young Lives in New China, Interview With Alec Ash

by Nathan James Thomas


There are over 320 million people in China aged between 15 and 30.

This generation is often derided by their elders as well as the media. Depending on who you ask they’re shallow and materialistic, apathetic or overly patriotic.

Beijing based journalist Alec Ash thought this stereotype might be missing the full picture, so he set out to do some research.

Over four years, he followed the lives of 6 millennials growing up and pursuing their aspirations in new China.

His debut book ‘Wish Lanterns’ chronicles their experience. It was released last month in the UK to widespread acclaim, winning an interview in the New York Times and glowing endorsements by veteran China writers.

I met up with Alec last weekend at the Shanghai launch of his book, and interviewed him for half an hour. Here’s the edited recording where Alec discusses his book, and the challenges and rewards faced by foreigners who write about China.

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Nathan James Thomas

Alec Ash at Glam, Shanghai. Original Photo by Elyse Ribbons GeiliGiving.com

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