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CLOSER TO HEAVEN: A Global Nomad's Journey Through China's Poverty Alleviation

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Author: Erik Nilsson;
Language: English
Page: 350
Publication Date: 01/2021
ISBN: 9787508545233
Details
China Daily journalist Erik Nilsson has traveled through every provincial-level jurisdiction on the Chinese mainland, covering poverty alleviation, disaster relief and government policy since 2006.
The then 33-year-old American became the youngest foreigner ever to win the China Friendship Award, the top honor the central government offers to experts from overseas for their “contributions to China’s social and economic development”, in 2016. He has also won journalism awards from the provincial to international levels.
The Beijing-based journalist’s videos have been viewed hundreds of millions of times across new media platforms since March 2017. The internet celebrity is known by Chinese netizens as “ 美国小哥 ”, or “American Brother”.
He has co-authored, co-compiled and edited 16 books on China in English and Chinese.
In 2011, Nilsson founded a volunteer initiative to bring solar panels, clothes, medicine, food and study materials to underdeveloped schools in Yushu’s ethnic Tibetan nomadic communities. His group also provides surgeries, prosthetics and wheelchairs for children with disabilities and university scholarships for nomads from lowincome families.
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Preface
Acknowledgements
I’d like to express my gratitude to several groups and individuals who made this book and story possible.
I’d like to thank the leadership of China Daily, especially the editorial board, and other colleagues for their support from meeting rooms to working side-by-side on various front lines. Many of the accounts in this book are based on coverage we created, and times we spent, together in such arduous places as the Wenchuan quake zone.
I’m especially grateful to everyone who has supported our work on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. While so many friends have supported us, I must give a special thanks to Cheng Wei, our cherished “good-luck charm”, and Tseringben, who has worked tirelessly on the ground to help us transform thousands of children’s lives. Tseringben and I met and teamed up soon after his father died. His dad’s last words were: “Do good unto others.” His father would be more than proud today.
We’ve since become family. Literally. He is gandie (like a godfather) to my children and my brother in arms on the front line on the “planet’s third pole”.
I’d also hope to commemorate our beloved friend Mike Peters, who donated what was left over after his final expenses to our efforts on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Mike’s light and generosity continue to shine.
I’d also like to thank my dear friend Liu Jun, who translated this book into Chinese, not only for contributing her top-notch professional talents but also for being a special friend and confidant, even across an ocean and a decade.
Thanks also to the book’s coeditor and longtime pal, “shirtless” Mike Fuksman.
And I’d especially like to express my gratitude to Carol, my wife, for her sacrifices directly and indirectly related to the book.
That is, for putting up with a husband often gallivanting around disaster zones, top-level government events and isolated nomadic communities in grasslands, tundra and deserts. For always agreeing to share our shared personal savings to support poverty alleviation in Qumarleb. And for not only coediting manuscripts but also for dealing with me during the year and a half of writing this book while otherwise working overtime, including meeting the deadline during quarantine amid COVID-19. Thank you for sharing sacrifices with me to live and share these stories, to sometimes cry alongside me in darker moments, and to find and create light alongside me and with others.
And I’d like to thank the Chinese people for their lessons in friendship, resilience and hope over the years. I look forward to learning more together in the years to come.
Oct 17, 2020
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CLOSER TO HEAVEN: A Global Nomad's Journey Through China's Poverty Alleviation
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