Thomas Rippe


Thomas Rippe is a freelance journalist and photographer currently residing in Beijing, where he focuses most of his energy on recovering from three years spent working for Chinese government-run media. Prior to arriving in Beijing he spent two years in Kigali, Rwanda, where he did freelance work for the Associated Press and Voice of America. While in Kigali Thomas also worked for the non-profit Tiziano Project helping a group of young Rwandans produce a weekly radio program that aired on VOA.


Why censorship looks like ‘harmony’ inside Chinese media

The first time I got in trouble at China Radio International was for saying it’s OK to drive over the speed limit as long as that’s  the speed of traffic.

I was hosting a show called “China Now,” which aired live in Beijing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, on a weak AM signal that no one could actually pick up.

The show was also recorded and sent to CRI partner stations in far-flung places like Port Vila, Vanuatu and Monrovia, Liberia. The primary purpose of the show seemed to be to fill three hours of airtime. It was roughly half music, mostly Top 40. My Chinese co-host had a thing for Lady Gaga.

We ran one or two pre-recorded reports per hour, including a seven-minute snoozer about Mahjong filed by a British reporter, and a much shorter and more entertaining piece by a Canadian reporter who visited a prominent Revolution-era Red Army base and asked his interpreter if she had ever wanted to shoot a raccoon with a machine gun. Read more