Expat Businessman Who Caused A Huge Controversy With Article About Leaving China Is Still In China

Mark Kitto Reuters

Photo: Reuters / Youtube

Back in August, Mark Kitto, a British businessman who built (and subsequently lost) an empire of English-language magazines in China, wrote a 4,000 word article for the UK’s Prospect magazine explaining why, after 16 years, he was finally leaving China.The article caused the English-language blogosphere in China to go completely nuts, with other writers announcing why they, too, were leaving China, and others stepping forward to rebut them. The “Why I’m Leaving China” story became such a cliche amongst ex-pats that it was even parodied by China Daily Show — China’s equivalent of the Onion.

Kitto’s article touched a nerve — hitting out at corruption, immorality and titled simply “You’ll never be Chinese”. But not everyone supported Kitto, with some important people in China (such as the Sinocism blog’s Bill Bishop) questioning his motives.

These critics may be surprised to learn that Kitto is still in China — and receiving lengthy profiles in the state-run tabloid Global Times.

The article — titled “I’m Still Leaving China” — does offer some perspective from Kitto on the controversy however, most notably including details of how his family was summoned to the local police station after the controversy the article caused. Kitto says he will finally leave China next summer.

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