Last month, 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 26 years, he was finally leaving China.
It was a strongly worded article, titled simply “You’ll never be Chinese”, and railing against the country’s corruption and immorality. Kitto had clearly touched a nerve — the article was soon passed around widely amongst China’s big expat community, with both strong criticism and support. The article was apparently such a huge hit for Prospect that they had to buy new servers.
The article also helped bring attention to a wave of “Why I am leaving China“-type posts. It practically became a sub-genre of China expat literature — and even prompted a parody from the China Daily Show (“So you’ve finally decided to break up with China. You’ll probably want to write a blog post or newspaper article about it, then”).
So why is everyone leaving China? Reuters’ Jane Lanhee Lee has a new video interview with Kitto, who explains some of his reasoning.
Of course, not all are sympathetic to Kitto’s plight. Bill Bishop of the Sinocism blog (himself an expat businessman), has taken to Twitter to voice his criticism of Kitto:
if u interview mark kitto can u ask him if he was in talks w outsiders 2 screw his partner in his illegal magazine but was beaten 2 punch?
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) September 7, 2012
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