Ji XianlinJi Xianlin (1911–2009) was born in the impoverished flatlands of Shandong Province, only weeks before the Qing government was overthrown, and educated in Germany in the 1930s. After the Second World War, he returned to China to co-chair the Eastern Languages Department at Peking University. A distinguished scholar of Sanskrit and Pali, Ji was best known as an influential essayist and public intellectual. The former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao paid visits to the author during his final years and made it known that he considered Ji a mentor.
Chenxin Jiang was born in Singapore and grew up in Hong Kong. She received the 2011 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation, as well as a PEN Translation Grant for her work on Ji Xianlin. Chenxin also translates from Italian and German. She studied comparative literature and creative writing at Princeton University.
Zha Jianying is a journalist and nonfiction writer. She is the author of two books in English, China Pop: How Soap Operas, Tabloids, and Bestsellers Are Transforming a Culture and Tide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Dushu.