Chip Tsao

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Chip Tsao
Born (1958-08-17) 17 August 1958 (age 61)
British Hong Kong
EducationPui Kiu Middle School
Lingnan Secondary School
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
London School of Economics

Chip Tsao[1][2][3][4][5] (born 17 August 1958), also known by his Chinese language pen name To Kit,[1][6][7][8] is a multilingual Hong Kong-based columnist, broadcaster, and writer. His writings are mostly in Chinese. He is well known for his sarcasm and wry sense of humour.[6]

Family and education[edit]

Chip Tsao
To Kit
Traditional Chinese陶傑

Tsao's family traces their roots back to Guangxi.[9] His father was the vice chief editor of Ta Kung Pao, a leftwing newspaper in Hong Kong, whilst his mother was also an editor of the same paper. His maternal grandfather was a journalist of the Pearl River Daily. He was raised in Hong Kong's Wanchai district, and began reading early in his life. Tsao attended Pui Kiu Middle School and later Lingnan Secondary School in Hong Kong. During this time, his writing was once published in The New Evening Post. In 1980, he obtained a BA in English and European Literature from the University of Warwick.[10] Then he completed a Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations from the London School of Economics. However, he states that he never thought about becoming a writer in his youth, and that his parents discouraged him from this career because they felt it would be dangerous.[6]

Tsao is married and has two children.[6]


Tsao began his journalism career in the United Kingdom as a reporter for the BBC and Radio Television Hong Kong.[9] Then, famous writer Jin Yong (Louis Cha) invited him to write a regular column for Ming Pao about his experiences living abroad. It was at this time that he began to use his pen name To Kit.[6] The name of his column in Ming Pao,"'The Golden Venture", derives from the name of a vessel that took Chinese illegal immigrants to the United States in 1993.[citation needed] His first book, Alongside Thames, was published in 1995.[6]

Tsao later he joined a team of broadcasters to host a weekly current affairs programme on RTHK named 'Free as Wind' (講東講西). In September 2003, he switched to the Commercial Radio Hong Kong to host a similar daily radio entitled 'Summit' (光明頂, literally 'the Peak of Light').[citation needed]

Tsao currently writes for Apple Daily and HK Magazine.[citation needed] Pieces from his columns, such as Come On, James, have gone viral and become an internet sensation in several new forms of adaptations.

Tsao is not without his controversies. His status as a premier writer of Hong Kong is often challenged, one example being a piece by Rosetta Lui and Perry Lam in the December 2007 issue of Muse: "Some 15 or 20 years from now, the books of Chip Tsao... if they are talked about at all, will most probably be used as anecdotal evidence to illustrate how dumbed-down our city's culture has become since the 1997 return to Chinese sovereignty. His essays are always funny, sometimes lyrical but almost never ruminative."[11]

Political viewpoints[edit]

Hong Kong politics[edit]

Tsao first began writing about Hong Kong public affairs in a column for English-language newspaper Eastern Express. He is often perceived as pro-British, and has been accused of looking down on China.[6] But in a South China Morning Post interview in 2008, Tsao explained his position on China and denied that he was an anglophile, saying: "I am critical of modern China but if people think criticising makes you a traitor, that’s their problem. Some people say I’m an Anglophile but I don’t consider myself one. I just admire beautiful things and good values, and that includes Tibetan culture. There are bad things about the Brits too – they can be hypocrites and racists."

Accusations of racism[edit]

Tsao has faced various accusations of racism for his English-language writings. In October 2005, an article he wrote for the South China Morning Post entitled "Have Hong Kong girls stopped looking for Mr White?" sparked accusations that he promoted discrimination and was jealous of white men in Hong Kong. Tsao responded that he was merely being sarcastic and provocative, repeating themes which were often discussed in Chinese media, and accused his critics themselves of being racist and lacking the ability to "read between the lines".[12]

On 27 March 2009, an article of Tsao's entitled "The War at Home" was published in the free HK Magazine.[13] In it, he wrote that the Philippines was unworthy of claiming the Spratly Islands from China because "as a nation of servants, you don't flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter."[14] Many Filipinos decried his article as racist, discriminatory, and demeaning, and the Philippine government declared him an "undesirable alien" as a result.[15] His writings provoked negative reactions from various Philippine legislators; Senator Pia Cayetano stated that "instead of contributing to intelligent discussions on ways to resolve the Spratlys dispute, Tsao only succeeded in eliciting hatred and sowing more confusion not only among Filipinos but maybe even among his fellow Chinese who are not aware of the intricacies of the issue", while Parañaque Congressman Roilo Golez refused to accept Tsao's apology for his article, and challenged him to a boxing match.[16][17] On 30 March 2009, HK Magazine issued an apology for the offence Tsao's article had caused.[18] The following day, Tsao subsequently admitted his wrongdoing and apologised to the Philippine government and its people in an interview aired over Hong Kong’s ATV. He said, "I realized that I had crossed the line. I now offer my public apology." He has also indicated, however, that the article was meant as satire, and that it "was never intended to be insulting to the Filipino domestic workers."[19]

Criticism on #metoo movement[edit]

In 2017, Tsao posted a facebook post mocking the #metoo campaign one day after the revelation from Hong Kong athlete Lai-yiu Lui that she was sexually assaulted by a former coach. He wrote that he was touched on the face without his consent by a female teacher when he was in kindergarten and now he realised that he was "one of the victims of low-end sex abuse". "Thanks to the Facebook generation, by simply attaching a selfie, anyone can become a Harvey Weinstein or a Kevin Spacey," he added. Some praised for his "good sense of humour" and the worry over any man could be open to accusations over past inappropriate behaviour of which they may or may not be guilty.[20] More including the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women criticised him for inappropriate analogy and ignorance on sexual violence.[21]


Tsao's work, both on radio and in his columns, concentrates on the following subjects:

  • Changes in governance of Hong Kong prior to and following the transfer of sovereignty to China
  • The essence of classical Chinese and Western civilisation
  • Difference between Chinese and Westerners (particular in terms of politics and lifestyle)
  • The 'peasant mentality' of the Chinese
  • Films A new film called "ENTHRALLED" released on 10 April 2014 in Hong Kong which portrays post-handover Hong Kong through the love story of a group of returnees.
  • Prominent women (he wrote a column on the achievements of well-known Chinese women in Ming Pao Monthly between 1998 and 2003)


Major works by Chip Tsao:

Title Trans-title Publication date ISBN Footnote
黃金冒險號 The Golden Venture October 1998 ISBN 962-451-371-6
再見蘇絲黃 Adieu, Suzie Wong January 1999 ISBN 962-451-527-1
不給一口釘 Don't Give a Damn February 1999 ISBN 962-451-483-6
馬戲班主走了之後 After the Circus Owner was Gone February 1999 ISBN 962-451-553-0
日暮荒老的地平線上 On the Ageing Horizon July 1999 ISBN 962-451-597-2
名人學語文 - 訪問系列 Celebrities Learn Languages – an Interview Series July 1999 ISBN 962-85603-1-X
香港這杯雞尾酒 Hong Kong the cocktail September 1999 ISBN 962-451-573-5
中國化的魚眼睛 The Sinified Eyes of a Fish December 1999 ISBN 962-451-583-2
泰晤士河畔 Alongside Thames January 2000 ISBN 962-451-368-6
因為它在那裡 Because It's There January 2000 ISBN 962-451-620-0
權力的地圖 The Map of Power April 2000 ISBN 962-451-461-5
颱風和島的約會 The Date of a Typhoon and an Isle March 2001 ISBN 962-451-674-X
偉大的十字街頭 The Great Crisscross Streets June 2001 ISBN 962-451-659-6
流芳頌 Ode to the Famed June 2001 ISBN 962-973-544-X
名人學語文 - 訪談系列第二輯 Celebrities Learn Languages – an Interview Series II June 2001 ISBN 962-85603-2-8
那一頭是甚麼景色 What's the View over There? July 2001 ISBN 962-451-699-5
香港,你要活下去! Hong Kong, Never Say Die! October 2001 ISBN 962-451-702-9
香港,你要爭口氣 Hong Kong, Make a Good Show April 2002 ISBN 962-451-719-3
天涯遠望的焦點 The Focus from Faraway July 2002 ISBN 962-451-722-3
滿香園的一朵朵笑靨 The Smiling Faces in a Fragrant Garden August 2002 ISBN 962-451-719-3
思考在命運之上 Fate for Thought October 2002 ISBN 962-451-736-3
有光的地方 A Place Where There is Light July 2003 ISBN 962-451-760-6
風流花相 Risqué Expressions July 2003 ISBN 962-451-759-2
圖騰下的銀河 The Galaxy below the Totem November 2003 ISBN 962-451-800-9
魚的哲學 Philosophy of Fish January 2004 ISBN 962-451-776-2
男女關係 2 Love Affairs 2 April 2004 ISBN 962-86993-3-4 co-written
自戀紅燭 Self-intoxicated in a Red Candle May 2004 ISBN 962-451-805-X
石點頭 ─ 鍾逸傑回憶錄 Feeling the Stones: Reminiscences by David Akers-Jones[22] June 2004 ISBN 978-962-209-664-6 As translator
無眠在世紀末 Sleepless at the End of a Century July 2004 ISBN 962-451-831-9
她是他的一場宿命 She is his destiny July 2004 ISBN 962-451-819-X
男女關係 3 Love Affairs 3 July 2004 ISBN 988-97754-5-X co-written
大偶像 Great Idol December 2004 ISBN 988-98002-6-8
迷宮三千祭 3000 Worships to A Labyrinth December 2004 ISBN 962-451-872-6
霓虹花憶 In Search of Neon-like Sweet Remembrance February 2005 ISBN 962-451-883-1
那一夜星斗 Stars of that Night May 2005 ISBN 962-451-845-9
她把靈魂銘刻在水上 She Inscribed her Soul on the Water's Surface June 2005 ISBN 962-8872-03-6
國度的零時 Regime at Midnight July 2005 ISBN 962-451-918-8
峰青夕陽紅 : 陶傑星期天評論集 Summit in Green; Setting Sun, Red: Collection of To Kit's Sunday Critiques July 2005 ISBN 988-98609-4-5
青木瓜之戀 Taste the Feel of Love by Green Papaya October 2005 ISBN 962-451-937-4
天神的微笑 The Grin of Deities April 2006 ISBN 962-451-953-6
黑嶺魔宮 Temple of Doom on the Dark Summit July 2006 ISBN 962-451-974-9
MK愚樂圈 Great Idol II: Stupid Showbiz Mong Kok Style[23] July 2006 ISBN 988-98773-2-5
歷史和地理間的沉思 Meditation between History and Geography December 2006 ISBN 978-988-216-010-1
快樂鄉的一天 One Day in a Joyful Hometown May 2007 ISBN 978-988-216-033-0
莎士比亞的安魂曲 Shakespeare's Requiem July 2007 ISBN 978-988-216-037-8
海豚男的終極夜空 The Ultimate Night Sky of Dolphin Boys October 2007 ISBN 978-988-216-059-0
芳菲花田 Fragrance-billowing Field of Flowers December 2007 ISBN 978-988-216-070-5
天國的凱歌 Song of Triumph of Heaven July 2008 ISBN 978-988-216-093-4
恭敬有罪──陶傑短評 Deference is Guilt - Comments in Brief by To Kit Oct 2008 ISBN 978-988-17-8351-6
搔背有趣──陶傑短評 Back-scratching is Interesting - Comments in Brief by To Kit Nov 2008 ISBN 978-988-17-8352-3
乳房裏的異世 Extraordinary World inside Breasts Dec 2008 ISBN 978-988-216-121-4
暗夜寇丹 Nail Varnish in the Night Apr 2009 ISBN 978-988-216-138-2
流金千蕊 Golden Buds July 2009 ISBN 978-988-216-153-5
這個荒謬的快樂年代 This Ridiculous Happy Era Feb 2010 ISBN 978-988-216-174-0
小奴才的修煉之道 Tao of Being Flunkies July 2010 ISBN 978-988-216-196-2
與陶傑同牀 Sharing a bed with To Kit[24] July 2013 ISBN 978-988-216-265-5


  1. ^ a b Chugani, Michael (19 December 2017). "Don't kid around with friends". The Standard. Hong Kong: Sing Tao News Corporation. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Chip Tsao on left-wing killjoys, a world in chaos and a supernatural experience". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Critics Chip Tsao and Xu Zhiyuan tackle China's success and failures at Singapore Writers Festival". Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Transcending Boundaries: A panel discussion with Sara Wheeler, Tim Moore and Chip Tsao (Event cancelled)". Hong Kong: British Council. 2017 [circa]. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Chip Tsao, Alfred Cheung Kin-ting and Jim Chim Sui-man Speak at Lingnan". Hong Kong: Lingnan University. 28 February 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Chan, Peggy (16 October 2008), "A multitasking wit", China Daily, retrieved 7 April 2009
  7. ^ "Youth Square 2nd "Book Crossing Festival"" (Press release). Hong Kong: Youth Square. 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Interacting with investors" (PDF). 2011–12 Annual Report. Hong Kong: the Securities and Futures Commission. 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Speaking Better English", Radio Television Hong Kong, 6 November 2001, retrieved 7 April 2009
  10. ^ Warwick Graduates Association (1999), Warwick Whereabouts: University of Warwick Alumni Directory, p. 938
  11. ^ Lui, Rosetta; Lam, Perry (December 2007), "The writer we deserve?", Muse Magazine (11): 96
  12. ^ Law, Niki (16 October 2005), "Outraged readers round on writer for 'racist dogma'", South China Morning Post, archived from the original on 2 April 2009, retrieved 1 April 2009
  13. ^ Tsao, Chip (27 March 2009), "The War at Home", HK Magazine, archived from the original on 31 March 2009, retrieved 1 April 2009
  14. ^ "HK scribe hit for calling RP 'nation of servants'",, 29 March 2009, retrieved 1 April 2009
  15. ^ Nubia, Timi (31 March 2009), "RP Consulate in Hong Kong finds 'Luisa'", ABS-CBN News, retrieved 1 April 2009
  16. ^ Sisante, Johanna Camille (1 April 2009), "Lawmaker dares Chip Tsao to 1 round of boxing",, retrieved 2 April 2009
  17. ^ "Pia slams Chip Tsao, HK Magazine", Press release, Senate of the Philippines, 14th Congress, 29 March 2009, retrieved 8 April 2009
  18. ^ Aning, Jerome (30 March 2009), "HK magazine regrets columnist's racial slur", Philippine Daily Inquirer, archived from the original on 2 April 2009, retrieved 2 April 2009
  19. ^ Balana, Cynthia (1 April 2009), "HK writer: 'So sorry, I crossed the line'", Philippine Daily Inquirer, archived from the original on 3 April 2009, retrieved 2 April 2009
  20. ^ "Hong Kong journalist mocks #metoo movement with Facebook post". Coconuts Hong Kong. 1 December 2017.
  21. ^ "【性侵風暴】陶傑抽水自認受害者 平等機會婦女聯席批「小人行為」". 蘋果日報. 7 December 2017.
  22. ^ 石點頭 (in Chinese). Hong Kong University Press. June 2004 [circa]. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  23. ^ "愚樂" is a pun on "娛樂" ("entertainment")
  24. ^ "《與陶傑同牀》才子自我審查". Ming Pao. 22 July 2013. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2013.