Tea Leaf Nation

Introducing FP’s Newest Channel: Tea Leaf Nation

We explain China a different way -- and it works.

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to FP‘s newest channel, Tea Leaf Nation. It’s devoted to a place of surprising diversity, constant reinvention, and frequent heartbreak: China. 

Tea Leaf Nation  decodes modern China for a Western audience by illuminating it from within. Our editorial team and writers — about half of whom are Chinese — scour and then explain those spaces where Chinese discourse, debate, and ideas are most likely to ferment. These include mainstream Chinese media, local and special-interest publications, and in particular, the country’s roiling social web: online discussion forums and blogging sites that are often the final havens for those seeking a free platform, a territory the Communist Party declared a "battlefield" in 2001 but has struggled to bring to heel ever since.

Our approach works. We’re often first in the West to spot the big trends, ideas, and discussions making their way through China. These range from the surprising influence of Western television and films on young people to disdain for the country’s rising middle class; from sudden crackdowns on free speech to successful grassroots campaigns against corrupt officials.

Readers may already be familiar with Tea Leaf Nation, which began as an independent media startup before being acquired by FP, and has resided in FP‘s digital pages ever since. TeaLeaf.ForeignPolicy.com will simply provide a new home.

As China continues to shape our lives in profound and unexpected ways, it becomes ever more important to understand the feelings and daily lives of its 1.3 billion people. We look forward to continuing to explain the humanity and reality of this rising giant, exclusively to FP‘s readers.

David Wertime is a senior editor at Foreign Policy, where he manages its China section, Tea Leaf Nation. In 2011, he co-founded Tea Leaf Nation as a private company translating and analyzing Chinese social media, which the FP Group acquired in September 2013. David has since created two new miniseries and launched FP’s Chinese-language service. His culture-bridging work has been profiled in books including The Athena Doctrine and Digital Cosmopolitans and magazines including Psychology Today. David frequently discusses China on television and radio and has testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. In his spare time, David is an avid marathon runner, a kitchen volunteer at So Others Might Eat, and an expert mentor at 1776, a Washington, D.C.-based incubator and seed fund. Originally from Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, David is a proud returned Peace Corps volunteer. He holds an English degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard University.

 Twitter: @rachel_tln