Chinese love, marriage and weddings

An excellent, exhaustive video on proposing, romance and weddings in China. (Yes, there’s a brief reference to my book.) If you intend to propose in China you’ll find this especially useful. Weddings are very big business in China, with 13 million couples expected to get married in 2013, and they pump tens of billions of dollars into the Chinese economy, from wedding gifts, makeup, wedding attire, flowers, etc. Most interesting is just how traditional Chinese weddings remain, despite ever-growing Western influence.

Update: Although not exactly related, I thought I’d point readers to a new article about my book in the newspaper I used to work for, The Global Times. Full page with photos, including a comment by me about censorship in China.


New thread, links, etc.

Please feel free to talk about anything, as long as you’re nice.

Also, please listen to this new piece on National Public Radio’s Marketplace. It’s about sex shops in China, and I’m interviewed briefly. An amazing subject; sex shops there are a world of difference from those in the West.

There’s also a lengthy new article by James Fallows on the possibility of more companies, especially tech start-ups, choosing to manufacture their goods in the US, not only in China. An important new trend?

Finally, there’s a disturbing new article on the surging AIDS epidemic in China. Some heartbreaking stories. (It’s World AIDS Day today.)

And now you can continue the never-ending debate on China’s system vs. America’s, if you don’t think you’ve yet said it all.


Homosexuality in China: mini-podcast

As I was writing my book, the most eye-opening topic I researched was the history of same-sex love in China (followed closely by the history of prostitution). As I was finishing the book a friend helped me prepare a brief podcast on the subject. You may find it very surprising:


The trajectory from tolerance to complete prohibition and back to tolerance, at least in urban areas, is as dramatic as it is improbable.


New web site

I wanted to encourage you to visit my new author’s web site. In case you’re interested, it includes a lot about me that you probably don’t know.

In addition, there have been two new reviews of my book in the past 48 hours, each by one of my favorite bloggers, here and here.

UPDATE: This has really been a good week for coverage of my book. This is the latest review, and it’s superb.

Comments Off on New web site

Prostitution Podcast, book update, etc.

I’ve made a promise to only rarely mention my book on this site as I don’t want to bore readers to death, and constantly promoting it would be bad form. So posts like this will be very few and far between.

I wanted to direct everyone to an extensive Q & A preceded by a fine overview of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China over at the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Blog. You can’t ask for more than this.

Today I’m announcing the launch of my new website, where I’ll chronicle all the news coverage the book receives (so I can spare you most of it here).

I’ve also written a guest post about the unusual evolution of China’s sexual revolution at this excellent blog. Please check it out (and bookmark this blog; it’s superb.)

And finally there’s very nice new review of the book here.

Let me close with a podcast I made about prostitution in China that you should all find interesting. It’s very brief, and the goal is to give an overview of the world’s oldest profession in China from ancient times to today.


(If I could rerecord it I would have referred to the patrons of the Zhuhai incident not as “Japanese tourists”but as “businessmen.”) Please enjoy it. You can hack it to shreds in the comments. (There are a couple other very minor glitches I’m sure you’ll catch.)


The Internet and Sex in China

This is a brief podcast I created (with the help of a good friend) in which I discuss how the Internet has transformed the attitudes of millions of Chinese people in regard to sex. This is a topic I explore at length in my book Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, which started shipping last week (finally). I hope you find it amusing and informative.


Obviously there’s much more to be said about the Internet and sex in China, and the podcast is intended only to offer a snapshot of this immense subject. To find out more, please feel free to order the book. This is one of my favorite topics in the book.


Book Review

Tom Carter has written an excellent review of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China for City Weekend, the first print review. (The lengthy review in Business Insider and Just Recently were Web only.) Here’s the opening:

Among the many misimpressions that Westerners have of China, the idea of sex as some kind of “taboo” topic here seems to be the most common and clichéd. Forgetting for a moment that, owing to a population of 1.3 billion, somebody must be
doing it, what most of us don’t seem to know is that throughout the years China has been a society of extreme sexual openness.

And now, according to Richard Burger’s new book Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, the Chinese are once again in the sweaty clutches of sexual revolution.

Best known for knives-out commentary on The Peking Duck, one of China’s longest-running expat blogs, Burger takes a similar approach in surveying sex among the Chinese, leaving no explicit ivory carving unexamined, no raunchy ancient poetry unrecited, and ahem, no miniskirt unturned.

Please read the whole thing. And if you haven’t “Liked” my Facebook page please feel free to do so.

Amazon is late in shipping the book due to a supply-chain issue. If you’ve ordered the book please be patient — it should ship this coming Thursday. Kindle version is available now.


Update: Behind the Red Door: Sex in China

It’s only two days from the release date, and you can now read a healthy excerpt from the book’s introduction over at the Shanghaiist. If the opening sentence doesn’t grab your attention what will?

Also, frequent commenter and popular blogger Just Recently has written a full review of the book. Sample:

When I started reading Richard Burger‘s debut book, Behind the Red Door – Sex in China, I became aware that I actually knew very little about the topic. I was aware of the pressure on Chinese colleagues of my age to get married and to have children, and I also got impressions on how the terms were being negotiated between children and parents – even marrying a partner from a different province is considered a flaw by some elders. But what makes Burger’s book particularly insightful is a review of how the outer edges of sexual behavior and identity in China “deviate” from family and social norms, and the troubles in coming to terms with these differences – or in living with them without coming to terms with them.

Please go there and read the rest. It’s a very balanced and generous review, not all glowing but always perceptive. I’m hoping to see more reviews and updates in the coming days and weeks. I can only hope they are this insightful.

You can now pre-order the Kindle version for $9.99 or the book itself, which is on sale at Amazon for $13.95. I’ll try not to spam with post after post with news about my book, but will share with you as the reviews come in. Thanks.


Radio Taiwan International Interviews The Peking Duck

In this radio interview, I discuss how this blog got started, what caused it to dramatically change course in 2003, and how I keep it going today. (Radio Taiwan International is Taiwan’s version of America’s National Public Radio.) There is also a brief mention of my book, Behind the Red Door: Sex in China. Aside from being an interesting interview, from my prejudiced perspective at least, this is a unique opportunity to hear what my speaking voice sounds like. Please have a listen. It will only be up for another month or so.

Note: There are some IT issues with this site, namely it is not Mac-friendly. Under the headline there’s a little blue play button you can use for your PC. Next to that is another icon I used with my Mac to play the clip with the VLC media player. Using VLC, the interview begins about 60 seconds into the clip, preceded by some static.

Comments Off on Radio Taiwan International Interviews The Peking Duck

Interview with Danwei about my book Behind the Red Door: Sex in China

This interview offers an excellent overview of my book and what I was trying to achieve (if I say so myself). Note the graphic; those talismans were the way a lot of couples used to learn about sex in olden times when there was no sex education and no Internet. They were a gift from caring parents, to be used on one’s wedding night. I talk about prostitution from China’s earliest days to now, China’s shifting attitudes toward same-sex love, the Internet’s effects on sex in China, etc. Please check the interview out! You can also check out my book, and even buy a copy, here. And if you haven’t “Liked” my page on Facebook you can do it here. Thanks.