Photo: by UNITE

Hsiao-Hung Pai (白晓红/白曉紅) came to Cardiff from Taipei in 1991. She has lived in the East End of London since 1997. 

She holds masters' degrees (MA) in Critical & Cultural Theory (University of Wales, College of Cardiff), East Asian politics & history (University of Durham) and Journalism, with distinction (University of Westminster). She also holds a diploma in Subediting & Design (London School of Journalism).

Hsiao-Hung has written for The Guardian, Open DemocracyFeminist Review, Red PepperSocialist Review, Chinese Times UK, Chinese Weekly, The Storm (as a columnist), and many other Chinese-language publications worldwide. Her special interests are migration, migrant labour, and nationalism. 

Hsiao-Hung has worked as an editor and on many research projects and films. She translated and wrote introduction for the book Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory by Chris Weedon (Laureate Books, 1994, Taipei; second printing, 1997). She also translated and wrote a joint introduction for The Return of the National Question by Chris Harman (Vanguard Publishing, 2001, Taipei).

Hsiao-Hung spent the early 2000s researching the working lives of undocumented migrant workers in Britain and had her collection of essays, "Hidden Assembly Line", serialised in the British-Chinese press in 2005.

She covered the Morecambe Bay cockle-picking tragedy for The Guardian in 2004. In order to understand the working lives of undocumented Chinese migrants, she went undercover in many British workplaces. Nick Broomfield's film Ghosts (2006) was based on her work.

Hsiao-Hung is the author of the following books:

* Chinese Whispers: The True Story Behind Britain's Hidden Army of Labour 

(Penguin, April 2008)

Shortlisted for the Orwell Book Prize 2009. The book was also chosen as one of "the most worth talking about books" by World Book Day. 

Festival attended for this book: Hay Festival

* Scattered Sand: The Story of China's Rural Migrants 

(Verso, August 2012)

Winner of Bread and Roses Award 2013 

Its Chinese edition was published by Flaneur Culture Lab (行人文化实验室), 2014, Taipei.

Festivals attended for this book: Southbank literary festival; Edinburgh radical book fair; Marxism festival

* Invisible: Britain's Migrant Sex Workers 

(Westbourne Press, an imprint of Saqi Books, April 2013)

Chinese edition: Homeward Publishing, 2015, Taipei

* Angry White People: Coming Face-to-face with the British Far-right 

(Zed Books, March 2016)

Chinese edition: Homeward Publishing, September 2016, Taipei 

Festival & events attended for this book: London Review Bookshop, Bristol ideas festival, Waterstones, London Muslim Centre

* Bordered Lives: How Europe Fails Refugees and Migrants 

(New Internationalist, January 2018)

Chinese edition: Homeward Publishing, February 2019, Taipei

Festival attended for this book: Edinburgh International Book Festival

Ciao Ousmane: The Hidden Exploitation of Italy's Migrant Workers 

(Hurst in January 2021)

Chinese edition: Homeward Publishing, April 2022, Taipei

Shortlisted for Bread & Roses Award 2022, London

* 隐形生产线 (Hidden Army of Labour)

(Homeward Publishing, September 2013, Taipei)

This is Hsiao-Hung's first fiction, in Chinese 

Beijing edition: Sanlian Publishers, July 2015, China

It was shortlisted for the Top 100 Good Books in China in November 2015. 

Hsiao-Hung contributed a chapter for A Jar of Wild Flowers: Essays in Celebration of John Berger 

(Zed Books, November 2016, now with Bloomsbury)

In this collection of essays on the work of, and conversations with, John Berger, thirty-seven of his friends, artistic collaborators and followers come together to form the first truly international and cross-cultural celebration of his interventions.

Berger has for decades, through his poetic humanism, brought together geographically, historically and socially disparate subjects. His work continues to throw out lifelines across genres, times and types of experience, opening up radical questions about the meaning of belonging and of community. In keeping with this spirit and in celebration of Berger, the short essays in A Jar of Wild Flowers challenge us all to take the brave step from limited sympathy to extended generosity.

Since early 2018, Hsiao-Hung has been researching working and living conditions of migrant workers in Italy. She also looked at racism and the myth of "integration". On this subject, she wrote a chapter for Brave New Words, an anthology (Myriad Editions, November 2019) to celebrate 35 years of Wasafiri, the leading magazine of international literature. 

Awards & nominations

Hsiao-Hung was shortlisted for EMMA's Best Print Journalism in 2004. She won a Feature of the Year commendation from WorkWorld Media Awards in January 2008. Her book Chinese Whispers was shortlisted for the Orwell Book Prize 2009. Her book Scattered Sand was the winner of Bread and Roses Award 2013. In 2016, she won the Mulan Award for 'Contribution to Education, Arts and Culture' in London. Her latest book Ciao Ousmane was shortlisted for Bread and Roses Award 2022. 


Hsiao-Hung is a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). She is a Orwell Foundation Fellow. She works mainly in London and the UK.

Languages & skills

Mother tongue: Mandarin Chinese 

Work in: Chinese and English 

Additional languages: fluent Southern Fujianese, intermediate Spanish and elementary Italian

Additional skills: Chinese editing; English-Chinese translation; Chinese voice-over; Language consultancy & research.