‘All clothes are handmade’: the migrant workers behind Australian fashion | The Guardian

For The Guardian, I wrote about the migrant workers behind the ‘made in Australia’ label and how their winning campaign for equal rights might be instructive for other gig economy workers today.

Stories of Vietnamese garment workers in Australia
An excerpt from Emma Do and Kim Lam’s graphic narrative, Working From Home, or may ở nhà.

I talked to Emma Do and Kim Lam, the writer and illustrator of Working From Home, a graphic narrative about Vietnamese outworkers in the garment industry, and Nguyet Nguyen and Beth McPherson, veteran manufacturing workers and organisers in the textile, clothing and footwear union.

Chinese indie’s dilemma | ABC TV

Is indie music in China growing up or selling out? My story for ABC TV on Wuhan’s punk history and what it means for underground scenes to land in the spotlight.

Ft Li Ke (Wild Records/Vox Livehouse), Krish Raghav (comic artist, Chaoyang Trap House), SMZB, Shii, Hualun, Re-TROS, Bohan Phoenix, Wutiaoren, and a flash of the cringe anti-Blackness of Higher Brothers because we have to talk about that.

Screenshot of video with Jinghua standing in a laneway papered with gig posters. The headline says 'Before Covid, Wuhan was best known as the birthplace of China's punk music scene.'

Underfoot: history from below | Overland

Jinghua: Part of what we wanted to do was to find the stories missing from the narrative, but I’m really resistant to the idea of heroes… I don’t want to topple one statue and put up another.

Liz: But it’s much harder to find out much about the lives of people who don’t get a statue… We had to go into our research without a predetermined idea of what the final story would be. And it’s this, I think, that’s more useful for those of us on the Left than mining the past for forebears, or new heroes: seeing its radical unfamiliarity.

Liz and I wrote a feature for Overland on Underfoot (our Footscray history multimedia project) and how everyone can make and write history. Read it here.

China Tonight | ABC

Jinghua in a white shirt and black pants, sitting on a high stool on a tv set with a blue background and a camera in the foreground.

I have a few bits and pieces in China Tonight, a new ABC series on China hosted by Stan Grant and Yvonne Yong. It premieres tonight Tuesday 1 June (8pm on ABC News or 10:10pm on ABC TV) or you can watch it on iview whenever you like.

The first episode features me talking about China’s population crisis, Annie Louey on  stand-up comedy, and Stan interviewing senior diplomat Wang Xining, China’s Deputy Head of Mission in Canberra.

Presenters Stan Grant and Yvonne Yong smiling in front of a blue skyline with a 'China Tonight' logo that mimics a neon street sign.

Chinatown podcast | Recess x Rising

I made a short podcast about Melbourne’s Chinatown for The Hearts of the People are Measured by the Size of the Land, an exhibition curated by Olivia Koh (Recess) for Rising.

Sadly the festival is paused while Melbourne goes into its fourth lockdown so I’m not sure whether you’ll be able to see the exhibition currently, even the outdoor projections, but you can listen to the podcast in the meantime. Hoping events just get rescheduled.

In this podcast, Jinghua Qian offers a broken, bite-sized history of Chinatown and its role as the epicentre of a fractured and evolving community.

Audio samples

Nikki Lam, ‘Anchor and a Loose Thread 錨,和懸絲’, two-channel video installation, 2019. Sound design: Supina Bytol and Conor O’Hanlon.

Jay-Dea Lopez, ‘Chinatown, Melbourne’, Sounds Like Noise, 8 October 2011.

Peter Luck, ‘Chinese Australians ambivalent about revolution | RetroFocus’, ABC, 1969. (Accessed via YouTube.)

Cantonese with Brittany, ‘Cantonese vs. Taishanese (ft. Inspirlang)’, YouTube, 30 January 2021.

Inspirlang, ‘Taishanese Tones and Pronunciations (a complete guide to learn how to speak 台山話/Toisan/Hoisanwa)’, YouTube, 30 January 2021.

Nahuatl Tlahtocan, ‘Episode 2: A Linguistic History of Nahuatl’, YouTube, 20 June 2020.

Jess Ho, ‘The End of Chinatown’, 7am, 4 May 2021.

Daniel Keane, ‘Protesters call for wage theft crackdown in Adelaide’s Chinatown following alleged assault’, ABC, 6 February 2021.

Further reading

Jinghua Qian, ‘Chinatown: Melbourne’, Culture Trip, 29 June 2020.

Jinghua Qian, ‘Yellow peril isn’t what it used to be’, Meanjin, Summer 2019/2020.

Liam Ward, ‘Radical Chinese labour in Australian history’, Marxist Left Review, No. 10 Winter 2015.

Jinghua Qian, ‘Things and their makers: from “European labour only” to “ethical consumerism”’, Right Now, 8 September 2015.

Full references available on request.

Emerging Writers Festival events

I’m doing a couple of events at Emerging Writers’ Festival:

Dream House
Saturday 19 June 2021, 7 pm to 8 pm
Footscray Community Arts Centre
$15/$20 – book here

Where are the houses, rooms or places you return to in your memory or imagination? Which spaces have stuck inside of you long after you’ve vacated? These Western suburbs artists paint rooms with words, telling us about the places, homes and lives they’ve inhabited and how those spaces have shaped them, in an evening of works that ponder place and interrogate transfiguration. Hosted by Irihipeti Waretini (full list of performers at the link.)

Industry Insight
Monday 21 June, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
presented via YouTube in partnership with MEAA
free – join/view here

With writing being such a solitary practice, entering into the world of words can be confusing and isolating. So, what are your rights as a writer? How much can you expect to make from your words and how do you go about advocating for yourself as a freelancer? Our panelists (Jinghua Qian and Vivienne Pearson) discuss their experiences and what they have learned along the way.

The whole program is pretty rad so go check it out. A lot of the events are free and online too which is great to see. And I’m thrilled that quite a few people I’ve mentored over the last year as part of The Drop-In are featured!

You Can’t Ask That

If you want to watch me on the telly, I’m in the new season of the ABC series You Can’t Ask That in an episode about Chinese Australians. Stream it on iview or wait for it to air every Wednesday at 9pm (I’m on June 9).

Jinghua holds a placard saying 'What does dog taste like?'