In the spring of 1985, my friend Nichole wrote me, “I’m sitting in the square of this town selling shoes. Hundreds of people have come to look at me. Business is brisk.” When she returned we talked about her trip in my sitting room at Xiamen University. At the time, Nichole was a forty-something student of Chinese who spoke with a French accent.
It was common for foreign students to pack a bag or two and head out on their own, often to the minority areas. The government wanted foreign journalists and tourists to travel as part of a … Read More