Foreign Babes in Beijing

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Foreign Babes in Beijing, subtitled Behind the Scenes of a New China, is a memoir published in 2005 by Rachel DeWoskin. The memoir details the author's personal experiences in Beijing shortly after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 as an actress in a Chinese soap opera. DeWoskin lived in Beijing from 1994 through 1999, and in that time watched the city grow and change as China modernized its economy.

The soap opera, entitled 'Foreign Babes in Beijing' (Chinese: 洋妞在北京, pinyin: yáng niu zài běi jīng) features two pairs of Chinese men and American women. In one of which, Rachel plays Jiexi, a seductress who lures away her married counterpart, Li Tianming. In another, a more demure and traditional exchange student falls in love and marries Li Tianming's younger brother. Foreign Babes was something of a cultural pheomenon in China, with a viewership of 600 million.

The memoir follows DeWoskin's life as well as her character's plotline, and with an attention to detail and cultural analysis she inherited from her father, Kenneth DeWoskin, who was a noted Sinologist at the University of Michigan. From romantic interactions to globalization, Rachel DeWoskin observes China from an outsider's perspective with candor and humor.


  • DeWoskin, Rachel (2005). Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-05902-1