CEAS Helps Sinica Bring “More Light and Less Heat” to Conversations About China

Kuo delivering his CEAS Professional Lecture in 2023

North Carolina-based journalist Kaiser Kuo has a career that boasts a diverse range of experiences, from freelance writer and musician to international communications strategist for Chinese tech giant Baidu. In 2010, Kuo added “podcaster” to the list, co-founding the Sinica Podcast, a Beijing-based platform that sparked uncensored conversations about Chinese political and economic affairs.

With an average of one million listeners per year over the last six years, notable guests on the podcast have included Mary Kay Magistad of Public Radio International, Evan Osnos of the New Yorker, and Bill Bishop, founder of CBS MarketWatch. Listeners to the Sinica Podcast may have noticed this message at the start of the most recent edition of the program:

“Sinica is supported this year by the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison…”

This statement reflects a new partnership between the podcast and the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS). Center funding will ensure the on-air continuation of this highly regarded podcast for at least an additional year, bridging a funding gap created by the closure of The China Project at the end of 2023.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Center,” said host Kaiser Kuo. “Without its support, I’m not sure I would have been able to bring the podcast back after the unfortunate closure of The China Project. As the father of a Badger — and one majoring in East Asian Languages and Culture — I’m particularly glad that UW-Madison stepped up with this invaluable assistance.”

The support marks a new chapter in CEAS’ relationship with Sinica. Previously, Kaiser Kuo offered a CEAS Professional Series lecture in April 2023, “Rethinking The U.S. Approach to China in a Time of Crisis.” Kuo also visited campus to appear on CEAS’ East Asia Now podcast, when he delved into the origins of the Sinica Podcast and offered listeners a curated selection from its extensive archive, including in-depth interviews with diplomat Chas W. Freeman and journalist Sidney Rittenburg.

The Sinica Podcast focuses on emerging social and political issues in China, with the goal of promoting cultural literacy about the China region – a goal that corresponds to the mission of CEAS.

“The Sinica Podcast invites listeners each week to join Kaiser in ‘conversations that shed more light and bring less heat to how we think and talk about China.’ We consider that a critical endeavor worth supporting,” said CEAS assistant director Laurie Dennis.

If you enjoy Kuo’s work, please consider supporting him by subscribing at sinica.substack.com.