Jonathan was Beijing Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, reporting on politics, business and social trends across East Asia. Previously, he was a correspondent for the Guardian, and before that, a Fulbright scholar researching folklore in China’s rural southwest. He has also written for the New York Times, The Atlantic, and Foreign Policy Magazine, and has appeared as a commentator on the BBC, NPR, PRI, WNYC, CBC, and many others.
At Japan’s suicide cliffs, he's walked more than 600 people back from the edge
Almost no one jumps on rainy days.
They jump when the sun returns and the masses step outside, reminding them of their misery. They jump during financial crises and in the early spring, when Japanese schools open and the pressures of life converge.
One-armed bandits hit the savanna: Inside the Chinese-led gambling epidemic in rural Ghana
In Zamashegu, a farming community of 1,000 people in northern Ghana, they may as well have come from outer space — four electric slot machines installed in two roadside shacks, chirping and clattering, bathing the packed-dirt walls in a pale, kaleidoscopic glow.
'China has conquered Kenya': Inside Beijing's new strategy to win African hearts and minds
Gitonga flipped through the channels, and Chinese programs filled the screen: an old kung fu movie, a Chinese news broadcast, a Chinese documentary about Japan’s wartime atrocities, most dubbed into English. Gitonga was elated.
Meet the Nightcrawlers of Manila: A night on the front lines of the Philippines' war on drugs
“In the morning, if you shoot dead people, it's gory, but at night it’s almost beautiful,” he said, clicking through photos on his laptop. “You can hide the blood, because of the shadows. It's psychedelic, the colors.”
Does multimillion dollar Chinese investment signal Detroit’s rebirth?
Last autumn, a group of Chinese real estate developers arrived in downtown Detroit for a city tour. As they walked through its small central cluster of high-rises – some in use, many long-ago abandoned – they were impressed by what they saw.
Ethnic Music Tests Limits in China
They have toured Europe, played alongside marquee names like the band Coldplay and earned plaudits in the international press. But here in China, the growing popularity of the Mongolian rock band Hanggai has not exactly inspired adulation from the authorities.
Razing History: The Tragic Story of a Beijing Neighborhood's Destruction
On a cloudy day last March, a retired office clerk surnamed Sun stood outside of his courtyard home in the heart of Beijing, lit a cigarette, and tried not to dwell on the eight-acre swath of rubble down the street that used to be his neighborhood.