21st Century Chinese Women: Conversation with Lijia Zhang

Some would argue that the 21st century belongs to China - and women. Growing up in the era of Mao Zedong and working in a state-controlled rocket factory worker in Beijing, social commentator and author, Lijia Zhang recognised at a young age that education and the English language would be her ticket to economic and personal freedoms. 

The Beijing-based writer was inspired by the secret life of her grandmother to look deeper into China's massive underground sex industry. Her talk explained how she gained insight into the trade which formed the basis of her debut novel, Lotus  - a story of a young migrant-worker-turned-prostitute - as she carves out a life for herself in Shenzhen, China's 'City of Sins.'