China Twitter: 100 accounts you should follow

China Twitter: 100 accounts you should follow


SupChina’s guide to the best of China Twitter in English.


Twitter, at its worst, is messy and toxic, a place of snark, mistruth, vitriol, half-formed punditry, and hair-trigger replies to @RealDonaldTrump. But it’s not all garbage: The community of people on Twitter who discuss China make up one of the more constructive and informed groups on the platform, with journalists willing to break news, academics and researchers who overcome character limits to provide nuance, and activists who believe in the power of amplifying stories.

But don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself:

We’ve selected 100 of the top China-focused accounts on Twitter.

These 100 accounts are all run by individual people and meet these four criteria:

  • They are active on Twitter, and their tweets often focus on China news.
  • They have spent lots of time in China, either working, reporting, studying, or just living. Many are currently based there.
  • They have a unique voice on Twitter, and use their account to promote timely and useful information about Chinese politics, business, or culture, or write original commentary on these subjects in a way that facilitates a nuanced understanding of the country.
  • They tweet primarily in English.

We apologize in advance for leaving anyone out — let us know about glaring omissions and we’ll update this post as necessary.

What about Chinese-language Twitter?

This top-100 list is limited to only English-language tweeters, though a quick guide to Chinese-language Twitter can be found at the bottom of this article.

The China 100 list

We have attempted to balance the list to highlight a diversity of voices and perspectives as much as possible. It is not a list of the “100 most popular,” nor is it an exhaustive list of knowledgeable people tweeting about Chinese business, politics, and/or culture. Some accounts of reputable scholars have been excluded because they are not active enough on the platform, and some reliable commentators have been left off because they only occasionally tweet about China.

Think of this as a high-quality selection of Twitter users that we think, when taken together, gives a balanced and smart view of many different facets of China and the world today.

Our list includes excellent accounts focused on women and gender issues in China, such as @halfthesky49 and that of author Leta Hong Fincher (@LetaHong) and leading Chinese feminist Lü Pin (@pinerpiner). Three of the accounts are those of scholars — Adrian Zenz (@adrianzenz), Rian Thum (@RianThum), and Darren Byler (@dtbyler) — who have led research on and raised awareness about the atrocities the PRC government is committing against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang. The account of Shawn Zhang (@shawnwzhang), the university student who identified and documented satellite photos of dozens of re-education camps in Xinjiang, also made the list.

Several of our selected accounts have a specialty in Chinese foreign relations, such as Africa-China relations (Eric Olander @eolander), India-China relations (Ananth Krishnan @ananthkrishnan), and Russia-China relations (Alexander Gabuev @AlexGabuev). Many more have meticulously tracked the nosedive of U.S.-China relations in the past year. The scholar Bonnie Glaser (@BonnieGlaser) and writer Chris Horton (@heguisen) are two of the sharpest observers on Twitter of Taiwan and its relations with the P.R.C. Taipei-based journalist William Yang (@WilliamYang120) is also on our list.

Many of the accounts focus on China’s growing technological prowess, while others dissect cultural trends in China and in the Chinese diaspora.

Disclosure: Six out of the top 100 accounts either work at SupChina or produce content in partnership with SupChina. These include @goldkorn, the account of our editor-in-chief, Jeremy Goldkorn; @kaiserkuo, the account of Sinica Podcast co-host Kaiser Kuo; and @anthonytao, the account of our managing editor, Anthony Tao. Three more people on the list produce content on our Sinica Podcast Network: Rui Ma at Pandaily (@ruima), Joanna Chiu at NüVoices (@joannachiu), and Tanner Brown at Caixin (@luoshanji).

A dozen others on the list have either written articles for SupChina or are contributing columnists: Darren Byler (@dtbyler), Yangyang Cheng (@yangyang_cheng), Mark Dreyer (@DreyerChina), Tianyu Fang (@tianyuf), Eric Fish (@ericfish85), Chris Horton (@heguisen), Frankie Huang (@ourobororoboruo), Shen Lu (@shenlulushen), Paul Triolo (@pstAsiatech), Graham Webster (@gwbstr), Sophia Yan (@sophia_yan), and Elliott Zaagman (@ElliottZaagman).

The list is organized by follower count (as of May 2019, and rounded down to the nearest 1,000), in descending order. As it happens — and he himself is mystified by this — our editor-in-chief has the highest follower count.

A Twitter list of these accounts that you can browse and subscribe to can be found here.

Illustration by Peter Behr

1. Jeremy Goldkorn | 178K | @goldkorn

SupChina editor-in-chief. Bearded agitator.

2. Mike Forsythe | 156K | @PekingMike

A New York Times reporter, now in New York after many years in Beijing, who has broken some of the biggest stories about wealth and power in China.

3. Bill Bishop | 124K | @niubi

A longtime China-watcher and the proprietor of the Sinocism China Newsletter. Also the owner of the very cute dog TashiB.

4. Chris Buckley | 120K | @ChuBailiang

The New York Times’ star correspondent in Beijing, whose Twitter game is widely acknowledged as nonpareil. Owner of Tiny, the original Twitter-famous China-watcher dog.

5. Anna Fifield | 120K | @annafifield

The Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post, previously based in Seoul.

6. Kaiser Kuo | 80K | @KaiserKuo

Polymath. Truth seeker. Confabulator. Probable Satanist. Host of the Sinica Podcast and overseer of the Sinica Podcast Network.

7. Austin Ramzy | 80K | @austinramzy

A New York Times reporter based in Hong Kong.

8. Josh Chin | 79K | @joshchin

A Wall Street Journal reporter based in China.

9. Sui-Lee Wee | 59K | @suilee

A New York Times reporter based in Beijing, with excellent coverage of healthcare in China.

10. Louisa Lim | 50K | @limlouisa

The author of The People’s Republic of Amnesia and a journalist, formerly with NPR and the BBC in China.

11. Patrick Chovanec | 44K | @prchovanec

The managing director of Silvercrest Asset Management, a former business professor at Tsinghua University, and a longtime China-watcher.

12. Joanna Chiu | 40K | @joannachiu

The bureau chief at the Star Vancouver, formerly with AFP in Beijing. Also the chair of NüVoices, which partners with SupChina to publish the NüVoices Podcast.

13. Ian Johnson | 36K | @iandenisjohnson

A scholar of religion in China (his most recent book is The Souls of China) and a writer focused on civil society. Also a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist whose stories appear in the New York Review of Books and the New York Times.

14. Emily Rauhala | 35K | @emilyrauhala

A foreign affairs correspondent for the Washington Post, now in D.C. after years in Beijing.

15. Bonnie Glaser | 29K | @BonnieGlaser

An expert on military issues in the Asia-Pacific, based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

16. Ananth Krishnan | 29K | @ananthkrishnan

A former China correspondent for India Today and The Hindu, and one of the best people to follow to learn about India-China relations.

17. Jeff Wasserstrom | 28K | @jwassers

A history professor at UC Irvine, the co-author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, and an editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel.

18. Leta Hong Fincher | 27K | @LetaHong

The author of Leftover Women and Betraying Big Brother, focusing on feminist activism in China.

19. Simon Rabinovitch | 26K | @S_Rabinovitch

A Shanghai-based journalist at The Economist, focusing on China’s economy.

20. Keith Bradsher | 25K | @KeithBradsher

The Shanghai bureau chief for the New York Times, focusing on China’s economy.

21. Jiayang Fan | 24K | @JiayangFan

A staff writer at The New Yorker. Proud of her Chongqing roots. She has made two appearances on the Sinica Podcast and one on NüVoices.

22. Megha Rajagopalan | 23K | @meghara

An international correspondent for BuzzFeed News. Was based in Beijing and broke several important stories about the crisis in Xinjiang, until her visa was rejected in August 2018. She continues to report on Xinjiang and Chinese surveillance from abroad.

23. Paul Mozur | 23K | @paulmozur

A tech reporter for the New York Times, based in Shanghai.

24. Isaac Stone Fish | 23K | @isaacstonefish

A Senior Fellow at the Asia Society in New York.

25. Jorge Guajardo | 21K | @jorge_guajardo

A former Mexican Ambassador to China.

26. Tom Hancock | 21K | @hancocktom

Witty Financial Times reporter based in Shanghai.

27. Alan Wong | 21K | @alanwongw

The deputy editor of Inkstone News, based in Hong Kong.

28. M. Taylor Fravel | 21K | @fravel

An international relations professor at MIT, and the author of the new book Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy since 1949.

29. Shawn Zhang | 20K | @shawnwzhang

A law student at the University of British Columbia, who undertook a remarkable project to identify and document dozens of re-education camps in Xinjiang.

30. Haidi Lun Stroud-Watts | 19K | @HaidiLun

A Bloomberg TV anchor based in Australia, and previously in Hong Kong. Queen of panda GIFs.

31. Yuan Yang | 19K | @YuanfenYang

A tech correspondent for the Financial Times, based in Beijing. Has published multiple exclusive stories on Huawei in recent months.

32. Eric Fish | 19K | @ericfish85

A writer focused on Chinese students in China and abroad. Has contributed long-read essays on those topics for SupChina.

33. Eunice Yoon | 19K | @onlyyoontv

The Beijing bureau chief at CNBC.

34. James Palmer | 18K | @BeijingPalmer

The Asia Editor of Foreign Policy and the author of Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes. Recently left Beijing after a long stint there. Has experience working as a copy editor for Chinese state media.

35. Lulu Yilun Chen | 17K | @luluyilun

A tech reporter at Bloomberg, based in Hong Kong.

36. Li Yuan | 17K | @LiYuan6

An Asia tech columnist at the New York Times.

37. Jeremiah Jenne | 16K | @JeremiahJenne

A historian and writer based in Beijing.

38. David Rennie | 16K | @DSORennie

The Beijing bureau chief for The Economist.

39. Elizabeth Economy | 15K | @LizEconomy

The director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future.

40. Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian | 15K | @BethanyAllenEbr

A journalist focused on Beijing’s overseas influence operations.

41. Gerry Shih | 14K | @gerryshih

A China correspondent for the Washington Post. Previously at the Associated Press, where he contributed to an award-winning series of reports on Xinjiang and Uyghurs. He talked about that reporting here on the Sinica Podcast.

42. Damien Ma | 14K | @damienics

The director of the Paulson Institute and the co-creator of MacroPolo.

43. Amy Qin | 14K | @amyyqin

A China correspondent for the New York Times, focused on culture and society.

44. Rob Schmitz | 14K | @rob_schmitz

An NPR Shanghai correspondent.

45. Eva Dou | 13K | @evadou

A China politics reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

46. Lingling Wei | 12K | @Lingling_Wei

A journalist for the Wall Street Journal, recently focusing on the U.S.-China trade war. Also follow her common co-byline colleague Bob Davis.

47. Jonathan Sullivan | 12K | @jonlsullivan

The director of China Programs at the University of Nottingham’s Asia Research Institute.

48. Lily Kuo | 12K | @lilkuo

The Beijing bureau chief for The Guardian, formerly based in Nairobi for Quartz.

49. Rui Ma | 11K | @ruima

A tech investor and the co-host of the TechBuzz China podcast, part of the Sinica Podcast Network.

50. Richard McGregor | 11K | @mcgregorrichard

A veteran journalist and Senior Fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia. The author of The Party and Asia’s Reckoning. Not James McGregor.

51. Emily Feng | 11K | @EmilyZFeng

An NPR Beijing correspondent. Formerly at the Financial Times.

52. Peter Martin | 11K | @PeterMartin_PCM

A political reporter for Bloomberg, based in Beijing.

53. Nathan VanderKlippe | 11K | @nvanderklippe

A Beijing correspondent for Canada’s Globe and Mail.

54. Adam Segal | 9K | @adschina

An expert on Chinese cyberspace at the Council on Foreign Relations. Has appeared on the Sinica Podcast twice, once to discuss his book, The Hacked World Order, and again to talk about the implications of China’s 2017 Cybersecurity Law.

55. James McGregor | 9K | @jamesLmcgregor

A veteran businessman in China and the author of One Billion Customers and No Ancient Wisdom, No Followers. Not Richard McGregor.

56. Dexter Roberts | 9K | @dtiffroberts

A journalist who recently returned to the U.S. after spending 20 years in China, formerly writing for Bloomberg Businessweek.

57. Shai Oster | 9K | @beijingscribe

The Asia bureau chief for The Information.

58. John Garnaut | 8K | @jgarnaut

An Australian government adviser and journalist focused on Chinese elite politics.

59. Sophia Yan | 8K | @sophia_yan

A China correspondent for The Telegraph. Before joining The Telegraph, she was an occasional contributor to SupChina.

60. Elsa B. Kania | 8K | @EBKania

A researcher at the Center for a New American Security focused on Chinese military innovation in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence.

61. Matt Schrader


Any questions about this decision? Please write to [email protected]

62. Manya Koetse | 8K | @manyapan

The editor-in-chief of What’s on Weibo, a site explaining Chinese social media and internet trends.

63. Bill Birtles | 7K | @billbirtles

A China correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

64. Eric Olander | 7K | @eolander

The managing editor of the China Africa Project, and host of the China in Africa podcast.

65. Gabriel Wildau | 7K | @gabewildau

A former Shanghai correspondent for the Financial Times, now a China analyst at Teneo.

66. Evan Feigenbaum | 7K | @EvanFeigenbaum

An experienced former diplomat and Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment.

67. Alexander Gabuev | 7K | @AlexGabuev

A Senior Fellow and chair of the Russia in Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

68. Anne-Marie Brady | 7K | @Anne_MarieBrady

A New Zealand–based China scholar, globally recognized (and harassed by Beijing) for her work on the Communist Party’s United Front.

69. Wei Du | 7K | @WeiDuCNA

A Northeast Asia correspondent based in Hong Kong for Channel NewsAsia.

70. China Law Translate | 6K | @ChinaLawTransl8

Though this is ostensibly the Twitter handle for the excellent, it functions as the personal account for the site’s proprietor, Jeremy Daum. It’s often seen calling out inaccurate reporting on China’s social credit system.

71. Scott Kennedy | 6K | @KennedyCSIS

A Senior Adviser and the Freeman Chair in China Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

72. Wang Feng | 6K | @ulywang

The editor-in-chief of FTChinese.

73. Rian Thum | 5K | @RianThum

A historian of Islam in China and the author of The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History.

74. Chris Horton | 5K | @heguisen

A Taiwan-based journalist who regularly contributes to the New York Times. He has also contributed to SupChina.

75. Andrew Chubb | 5K | @zhubochubo

An expert on the South China Sea and a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program.

76. Graham Webster | 5K | @gwbstr

The coordinating editor of the DigiChina project at New America. Wrote an article for SupChina on how to interpret Chinese state media and the Global Times in particular.

77. Julian Ku | 5K | @julianku

An expert in international law at Hofstra University. Appeared on the Sinica Podcast early this year to discuss the extradition case of Huawei CFO Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟.

78. WAGIC | 5K | @halfthesky49

WAGIC stands for Women and Gender in China. The must-follow feminism-focused account is run by Séagh Kehoe, a teaching fellow at the University of Leicester.

79. Lauri Myllyvirta | 4K | @laurimyllyvirta

A Senior Global Campaigner, Greenpeace, tracking carbon emissions in China.

80. Adrian Zenz | 4K | @adrianzenz

A researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology in Korntal, Germany. Has played a pivotal role in documenting the massive expansion of detention facilities in Xinjiang, and in March estimated that 1.5 million Muslims have been detained in the camp system.

81. Christian Shepherd | 4K | @cdcshepherd

Beijing correspondent for the Financial Times, previously with Reuters.

82. Frankie Huang | 4K | @ourobororoboruo

Writer based in Shanghai. Has contributed to SupChina.

83. William Yang | 4K | @WilliamYang120

East Asia Correspondent for Deutsche Welle, based in Taipei.

84. Nectar Gan | 4K | @Nectar_Gan

South China Morning Post reporter focused on Chinese politics.

85. David Paulk | 4K | @davidpaulk

Head of news at Sixth Tone.

86. Elliott Zaagman | 4K | @ElliottZaagman

Writes about Chinese technology; enjoys polling people on Twitter. Has contributed to SupChina.

87. Mark Dreyer | 3K | @dreyerchina

Writer of the China Sports Column at SupChina.

88. Yangyang Cheng | 3K | @yangyang_cheng

Particle physicist and postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University. Writes the Science and China column on SupChina.

89. Ryan Hass | 3K | @ryanl_hass

Career American diplomat now based at Brookings. Formerly on director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia at the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

90. Darren Byler | 3K | @dtbyler

Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington. Tireless advocate for dignity for Uyghurs. Writes the Xinjiang column on SupChina.

91. Samm Sacks | 3K | @SammSacks

Cybersecurity Policy and China Digital Economy Fellow, New America. Has appeared on Sinica twice this year, once with Paul Triolo to talk about Huawei, and again to discuss U.S.-China technology integration and competition.

92. Paul Triolo | 3K | @pstAsiatech

Geotechnology Practice Head at the Eurasia Group. Contributes to SupChina with commentary on U.S.-China relations and technology.

93. Tianyu M. Fang | 2K | @tianyuf

Boston-based freelance writer on Chinese tech and culture. Contributor to SupChina.

94. Lü Pin | 2K | @pinerpiner

A leading Chinese feminist activist, and one of the only ones to be active on Twitter writing in English.

95. Tanner Brown | 2K | @luoshanji

Head of breaking news at Caixin. Works with SupChina to produce the Caixin-Sinica Business Brief.

96. Karoline Kan | 2K | @KarolineCQKan

Editor at Chinadialogue, and author of the memoir Under Red Skies.

97. Anthony Tao | 2K | @anthonytao

Managing Editor of SupChina. You might also know his work on @BeijingCream (15.3K followers), a popular but short-lived (of three years) blog from a few years back.

98. Ma Tianjie | 1K | @TJMa_beijing

Founded two blogs: Chublic Opinion, about public opinion in China, and Panda Paw Dragon Claw, about the Belt and Road initiative.

99. Shen Lu | 1K | @shenlulushen

Writer focusing on Chinese diaspora and culture in New York City. Founding member of Chinese Storytellers. Has contributed to SupChina.

100. Afra Wang | 1K | @afrazhaowang

Writer focused on Chinese culture and U.S.-China relations. A host of the Loud Murmurs podcast that discusses pop culture in Chinese.

A quick guide to Chinese-language Twitter

If you read Chinese, there is a large but disparate community of Chinese-language tweeters that you can follow.

The most prominent Chinese-language accounts on Twitter are generally based outside of China, and include many dissident lawyers and activists as well as diaspora Chinese.

Unfortunately, there are extremely few prominent Chinese people living in China who are currently active on Twitter, after a mass campaign of harassment and interrogation of hundreds, possibly thousands of account holders was initiated by the government last year. This campaign is ongoing, and has even included punishing China-based accounts that “like” content that is critical of the Communist Party, or even for “having an account” at all. One anonymous data-science-based account that attracted a lot of attention from China-watchers, @AirMovingDevice, deleted all its tweets in early March and issued what was effectively a forced confession. The proprietor of that account has since returned to tweet about less political topics, such as the average distance to a hotpot restaurant in Beijing.

Beijing’s ban on Chinese citizens owning politically active Twitter accounts does not extend to state media propaganda workers. Xinhua, the People’s Daily, China Daily, CGTN, and the Global Times all maintain active accounts. The China Daily’s Chen Weihua (@chenweihua) can be found defending China in most reply sections of many popular tweets criticizing China. Hú Xījìn 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT), the editor of nationalist rag Global Times, joined in the fun and has kept up a steady stream of impressively trollish commentary since January 2018. (Hu can be an interesting person to follow, as he is a savvy interpreter of the nationalistic side of Chinese elite opinion, but he should not be regarded as an authoritative messenger of the Chinese government.)

Meanwhile, across the Taiwan Strait, politicians on the self-governing island of Taiwan freely use Twitter. For example, both President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文 Cài Yīngwén) (@iingwen) and the mayor of Taipei, Ko Wen-Je (柯文哲 Kē Wénzhé) (@KP_Taipei), have very active and popular multilingual accounts. At least for now, Hong Kong also has unhindered access to Twitter, and anti-Beijing activists such as Joshua Wong (黃之鋒 Huáng Zhīfēng) maintain active accounts (@joshuawongcf).

Notable Chinese-language Twitter accounts

Ex-Chinese internet activist Wen Yunchao (@wenyunchao) has a list of about 200 Chinese-language accounts, and Bill Bishop has a Twitter list of 26 “opinionated Chinese” also worth checking out. For Chinese-language commentary on news, we would like to highlight, in no particular order, the following accounts:

  • Zhāng Lìfán 章立凡, a respected Beijing-based historian and commentator. (@zhanglifan)
  • Dèng Yùwén 邓聿文, a former deputy editor of the Central Party School’s journal, Study Times. (@dyw1968316)
  • Michael Anti (安替 Ān Tì), founder of Caixin Globus and a longtime bilingual journalist and internet blogger. (@mranti)
  • Ho Pin (何频 Hé Pín), editor of overseas Chinese website Mingjing and writer of a bilingual political commentary newsletter. (@MJTVHoPin)
  • Fāng Kěchéng 方可成, veteran political journalist and a Ph.D. candidate at UPenn. (@fangkc)
  • Qiáo Mù 乔木, a former professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, now based in the U.S. and an advocate for human rights. (@QiaoMoo)
  • Téng Biāo 滕彪, an exiled human rights lawyer now based at Princeton University. (@tengbiao)
  • Ài Wèiwèi 艾未未, the famous artist and political activist. (@aiww)
  • Fāng Zhōuzǐ 方舟子, the pen name of Fāng Shìmín 方是民, a science writer based in Beijing. (@fangshimin)
  • KurikuC, a grad student at MIT. (@kuriko_c)
  • Wáng Dān 王丹, one of the leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, now exiled overseas. (@wangdan1989)
  • Wú’ěr Kāixī 吾尔开希, another leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, now exiled in Taiwan. (@wuerkaixi)
  • Lǐ Tíngtíng 李婷婷 (also known as Lǐ Màizi 李麦子), a queer feminist activist. (@LiMaizi)
  • Hú Jiā 胡佳, a Chinese civil rights activist. (@hu_jia)

Remember to follow our Twitter list. Think there’s someone we missed? Get in touch: [email protected]


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