Paul French (author)

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Paul French (born 27 August 1966) is a British author of books about modern Chinese history and contemporary Chinese society including Midnight in Peking.


French was born in the London Borough of Enfield and went to Raglan Junior School and Edmonton County School, North London. He gained an M.Phil from the University of Glasgow and studied Chinese at the City Literary Institute. After university French worked briefly for Time Out magazine in London before co-founding the London, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur based independent research firm Access Asia that specialises in analysing Chinese consumer and retail markets. In September 2011 Access Asia was acquired by the London based market research company Mintel.

French is a regular columnist for the China Economic Quarterly and the China Economic Review as well as being a regular columnist for and the China Editor of Ethical Corporation Magazine. He is also a former board member of the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents Club and a member of the Korea Research Hub (KRH) based within Leeds and Sheffield universities. French is also a member of the editorial advisory board for Anthem Press’s ‘China in the Twenty First Century’ series and the Honorary Research and Publications Director for the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland – China Branch. In 2011 French launched the Asian Arguments series of books for Zed Booksacting as the Series Editor.

French is also the author of the blog China Rhyming: A gallimaufry of random China history and research interests.


Midnight in Peking is French's most commercially successful title. It has appeared on numerous best-seller lists around the world, was awarded the 2013 Edgar Award in the Best Fact Crime category, and Kudos Film and Television have plans to adapt the book into a television drama.

Co-authored Works[edit]

  • One Billion Shoppers: Accessing Asia’s Consuming Passions After the Meltdown (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1998) – with Matthew Crabbe
  • Oil on Water: Tankers, Pirates and the Rise of China (Zed Books, 2010) – with Sam Chambers
  • Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines are Changing a Nation (Anthem Press, 2010) – with Matthew Crabbe

Sole Authored Works[edit]

  • North Korea The Paranoid Peninsula: A Modern History (Zed Books, 2005 – updated edition, 2007)
  • Carl Crow: A Tough Old China Hand – The Life, Times and Adventures of an American in Shanghai (Hong Kong University Press, 2006)
  • Through the Looking Glass: China Foreign Journalists From Opium War to Mao (Hong Kong University Press, 2009)
  • The Old Shanghai A-Z (Hong Kong University Press, 2010)
  • Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China. (Beijing: Viking, 2011; London: Viking, 2012; New York: Penguin Books, Rev., 2012). ISBN 9780143121008.
  • The Badlands: Decadent Playground of Old Peking." (Asia and Australia: Penguin Specials, 2012; London, New York: Penguin Specials, 2013)
  • North Korea: State of Paranoia." (London: Zed Books, 2014). ISBN 9781780329475.


External links[edit]