at The Wheeler Centre

The Badlands of Old Peking: Paul French

In Midnight in Peking, renowned China commentator Paul French solved a grisly, long-forgotten true crime story which shocked the one-time inhabitants of pre-communist Beijing’s infamous nightlife district.

Now he’s returned to the Peking Badlands to delve deeper into the tight-knit rookery of brothels, dive-bars, drug dens and flophouses which were both the decadent playground of foreign Peking and an unforgiving Hell’s Half Acre for its residents.

Evoking the nightclubs and brothels of the Badlands of the 1920s and 30s – with cabaret dancers, pimps, the ‘poor unfortunate’ … and the master criminal who was the uncrowned King of the Badlands, French brings a world almost completely slipped from history back to life – in all its gruesome glory.


Portrait of Paul French

Paul French

Born in London and educated there and in Glasgow, Paul French has lived and worked in Shanghai for many years. He is a widely published analyst and commentator on China and has written a number of books, including a history of foreign correspondents in China and a biography of the legendary Shanghai adman, journalist and adventurer Carl Crow.


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