Bill Loves China


 Elated representatives of China at the Livcom awards ceremony.

Present the Real China

“After so long in China, I’ve come to really love this country. And as a foreigner, I’m fortunate to have experienced both Chinese and Western cultures, and I think my perspective is relatively objective. So I feel it is my responsibility to help foreigners know more about China and the Chinese overseas to better understand their motherland,” Bill said.

In his opinion, if you want to know the real China, you should not only read Chinese history, but also experience it firsthand.

Bill first learned of China Reconstructs (now known as China Today) in the 1980s, before coming to China. He bought copies at the bookstore in Los Angeles’ China Town. China Today published his “Around China in 80 Days” over a 3-month period in 1994, when he drove with his family over 40,000 km around China.

That amazing adventure is still vivid in Bill’s memory, and his eyes lit up as he recounted the journey. In their 15-passenger van, the whole family drove from Xiamen up the coast through Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Qingdao, then cut northwest to Beijing and Inner Mongolia, visiting Genghis Khan’s mausoleum, then plowed southwest to Xi’an, Lanzhou, and Golmud, and reached Tibet after crossing the Gobi Desert. They returned home through South China by way of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Hainan and Jiangxi. “It was very difficult driving, as the roads were not good then. We averaged 300 km a day, driving at least 10 to 12 hours a day. It cost a lot of time and money,” Bill recalled, “but it was the experience of a lifetime.

Bill said he took the trip in part because many foreigners had told him that he had only seen coastal China, but that the hinterlands were not improving. So he decided to seek the truth for himself, relying upon neither foreign nor Chinese media. “I was deeply moved by the changes, even in remote and impoverished Ningxia and Gansu. Though still very poor, they at least had hope, unlike peoples in other so-called developing countries,” Bill said.

Bill is a prolific writer, having published numerous articles and papers, textbooks, and a series of books introducing China. He also started two English websites: and Many Chinese overseas who see his English websites or books write to him, keen to learn more about Fujian, since many don’t read Chinese and there is still little in English.

In addition to teaching, Bill moonlights hosting the weekly TV program “Xingfu Fujian,” which is produced in cooperation with foreign TV stations in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and the USA. Although targeted at overseas audiences, the show is all in Chinese. It is a big challenge for Bill to speak Chinese very quickly. Though he can read and write, to be able to speak aloud and rapidly requires practicing until it comes naturally without thinking. But he appreciated the opportunity to promote his home province. “My goal is to help foreigners better understand China, but China is too big for me to handle, so I focus on Fujian. And if I can help foreigners and overseas Chinese better know Fujian – that is good for Fujian, and it helps them know China as well.” In Bill’s eyes, his jobs are full of meaning and purpose.

When talking about the Chinese Dream, Bill admits that he also has one. “I hope I can drive around China again and write about the changes, not only in China but in my life and my family’s life, and how we see China today. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to do that, but it’s my dream.”

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