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Chiu takes prize for political writing

May 20th, 2022

Vancouver-based author and journalist, Joanna Chiu has won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for her debut book, China Unbound: A New World Disorder (House of Anansi $24.99).

China Unbound chronicles the dramatic expansion of China’s influence across the world and why it should be cause for concern. Joanna Chiu shows how Western complicity, fueled by economic self-interest and belief in the myth of Chinese liberalization, is a major contributor to police state surveillance that goes beyond national borders. Chiu offers detailed accounts of Chinese crackdowns on civil society and growing technological prowess, uncovering the challenges that a powerful China poses to global community and security.

The judges for the prize were Ottawa journalist Charelle Evelyn, author and past prize finalist Jacques Poitras and past Conservative Party of Canada deputy leader Hon. Lisa Raitt. Here’s what they had to say about Chiu’s book:

“The rise of China is the geopolitical story of the twentieth-first century, and Joanna Chiu has expertly charted the country’s efforts to extend its power around the globe.

From meeting displaced Uyghurs in Istanbul and China-curious entrepreneurs in Sicily, to witnessing street protests in Hong Kong and Xi Jinping’s wooing of Vladimir Putin in Beijing, Chiu does on-the-ground reporting and adds brisk, smart analysis of China’s creeping influence in Canada and around the world.

The result: China Unbound is a sweeping portrait of a rising superpower that is essential reading for any follower of Canadian politics.”

Joanna Chiu (left) with House of Anansi president Semareh Al-Hillal at the award ceremony.

Joanna Chiu is a senior journalist for the Toronto Star and an internationally recognized authority on China. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and Newsweek. Chiu is a frequent contributor to CBC, BBC World, Al Jazeera, and NPR and has worked as a foreign correspondent for top news agencies including Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, and the Associated Press. In 2012, she won a Human Rights Press Award for her story on refugees in Hong Kong.


Now in its 22nd year, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing is sponsored by CN and supported by the Politics and the Pen gala. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually for a book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life. The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and is of significant literary merit. The prize particularly values books that provide the general reader with an informed, unique perspective on the practice of Canadian politics, its players, or its principles. The prize was established in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario.

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