In detailing the tragic stories of Chinese women forced to give up their baby girls, Xinran demonstrates not only her relentless journalistic instinct but also her capacity for human understanding. For example: On a bus ride one day, when a stranger points out to her some misapplied makeup and then starts chatting with her, Xinran realizes she can repeat this mistake in the future to create opportunities for other women to approach her. "I gradually learned how to use my own lack of knowledge to unlock the secrets of Chinese women," she writes.
With such keen sensitivity, it's no wonder women have poured out their life stories to this Chinese British journalist and radio broadcaster. Born in Beijing, Xinran grew up estranged from her parents during the Cultural Revolution and considers herself an orphan of sorts. She has the valued perspective of both...
Beyond the Book
Xinran founded a charity in 2004 called The Mothers' Bridge of Love (MBL),
which aims to build understanding between adopted Chinese children growing up around the world, their adoptive parents and their birth culture. The following letter, abbreviated from the original, written by an adopted girl to her unknown birth-mother, expresses the purpose of MBL better than any mission statement could:
My name is Charlotte but when I went to China, they called me Shasha. I am 18 years old now, and I live in a city near Paris in France. I hope you are fine. I'm sorry but...