Chinese Girl in the Ghetto

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As China opens itself to the world and undertakes historic economic reforms, a little girl in the southern city of Guangzhou immerses herself in a world of fantasy and foreign influences while grappling with the mundane vagaries of Communist rule. She happily immigrates to Oakland, California, expecting her new life to be far better in all ways than life in China. Instead, she discovers crumbling schools, unsafe streets, and racist people. In the land of the free, she comes of age amid the dysfunction of a city’s brokenness and learns to hate in the shadows of urban decay.

Chinese Girl in the Ghetto is the unforgettable story of her journey from China to an American ghetto, and how she prevailed.

“Direct and unvarnished, this book describes the endless possibilities of a free society that allows its citizens to chart their own destiny. Ying Ma takes her readers to dark corners where poverty, crime, and racism reign, all the while reminding us that even amid a sea of hate, individuals can choose to believe in kindness, decency, personal responsibility, and racial equality.” — Ward Connerly, Founder and President, American Civil Rights Institute, and author, Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences

“A beautiful account of a young girl’s encounter with the insidiousness of authoritarianism in China and the tragedies of inner-city America. Ying Ma boldly details some of the worst imperfections of American society, all the while showing, with her own example, why freedom is worth choosing.” — Xiao Qiang, Adjunct Professor, University of California at Berkeley, and Founder and Editor-in-Chief, China Digital Times

Editorial Reviews


“Told with…simplicity and frankness” — John Derbyshire, National Review Online

“Fascinating memoir….[Ying Ma’s] journey has made her the very best kind of conservative — one whose love of liberty, order and self-reliance has been forged through gritty experience.” — Mona Charen, nationally syndicated columnist

About the Author

Ying Ma is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal Asia, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, National Review Online, Policy Review, and other publications. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her full bio and additional information are available at

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