Three Shots With… Mitch Moxley, Author Of “Apologies To My Censor”

Welcome to Three Shots with Beijing Cream, where local personalities show off their drinking prowess at bars you should patronize. Produced and directed by Gabriel Clermont and Anthony Tao.

You’ve likely bumped into him at one of the city’s bars, if you’re the bar-going kind. Otherwise, you might know his work from The Atlantic, the New York Times, TIME, CNN, Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications. Our guest this week is Mitch Moxley, former China Daily copy editor, author of the forthcoming Apologies to My Censor about being a white man in China. UPDATE, 6/10: Mitch addresses some of the comments that appear below. 

Three Shots With Mitch Moxley was filmed at Mao Mao Chong (12 Banchang Hutong), which was featured in the New York Times as a “pioneer of creative cocktails.” Try the mala (hot-and-spicy) Moscow Mule.

Mao Mao Chong

Edited by Gabriel Clermont (@gabrieltrane), with additional filming by The Good Doctor. Special thanks to Stephen of Mao Mao Chong

Previously: Three Shots With… Nestor Santana

|Three Shots With Archives|

    42 Responses to “Three Shots With… Mitch Moxley, Author Of “Apologies To My Censor””

    1. C.D.

      Can’t believe that Beijing Cream would dedicate any pixels to this talentless hack. Mitch Moxley is like the Jonathan Kos-Read of Beijing’s journalism scene. A self-serving shit-talker (and mediocre writer who incites yawns with all his lame “travel” articles about his “exotic” life in China) who has no friends left in China, resulting in his recent hasty departure back to Canada. Mention his “book” to anyone in Beijing and watch the eyes roll. You should have this guy labeled under “Douchebag” along with Cao Cao, because there really is no better way to describe Mitch.

          • narsfweasels

            Shaun Rein is so totally awesome that he hits “awesome” at the speed of light and comes out all the way to the other side at “One of the Worst Human Beings Ever”

        • lmno

          Not worse. Kaiser Kuo, Shaun Rein etc. make no attempt at hiding their arrogance because they are, in their own rights, Old China Badasses. They’ve earned that arrogance by contributing to the China expat scene over the decades creatively as well as in business. Mitch Moxley, on the other hand, is a newb upstart who came in on the Olympics-era “China is so cool” popularity wave, had aspirations of becoming the next Peter Hessler, but in lieu of any actual writing skills or unique travel experiences, basically replicated the most cliched “laowai in China” stories that have already been written about dozens of times, expertly publicized himself, glad-handed important editors who were more impressed with his marketable good looks, and stepped on a whole lot of people. Mitch has not earned his arrogance; he’s a hollow cliche of what editors want expats in China to be. And whereas Kaiser and Bill Bishop and the others actually have something to say, Mitch brings absolutely nothing new or interesting to the China Watchers roundtable, and that is why he was never invited in despite all the publicity he generated for himself, and that is why he has (thankfully) left.

            • P.

              You and me both. But we both know that public saunas in China also have their fair share of dick swinging.

          • samIam

            No need to put so much thought and analysis into a shallow, two-faced cocksucker like Mitch Moxley. The OP had it perfect: Mitch is to China expat writers what Jonathan Kos-Read is to expat actors: Despite all the publicity they have generated for themselves, at the end of the day Kos-Read is nothing but a glorified extra, and Mitch is nothing but a proofreader.

    2. Stu

      Moxley is a talentless twat. C.D is right on the money with his description. I will be buying his book simply so that I can watch myself throw it away

      • John S.

        I used to work with Moxley in Beijing. There is no bigger rat weasel westerner in the city than perhaps The Baron Christopher Devonshire-Ellis. He over-compensates for his weak, unoriginal, cliched writing by being a slimeball to women and a prick behind the backs of dudes he pretends to be buddies with.

        And like Dev-El, Moxley also left China not because he really wanted to but because he’s burned so many bridges here and developed such an unpleasant rep that there was literally no other expat rag that would take him.

        To his credit, he’s done a superb job of networking with all the right editors back west (oblivious people who will never read these comments on Beijing Cream), so Moxley can easily continue his career as a so-called writer while we are all left in China with his Axe body odor still stuck in our noses.

        • jesushole

          There are many English editors within the state-run media complex in Beijing who fit this description. The state-run workplace breeds and encourages rat behavior. Don’t be afraid, just be able to identify your enenmy early on. How can one do this? The real rats are usually the ones who tell you how much they love you.


            that pretty much sums up mitch moxley: a wannabe peter hessler who, realizing his didn’t have any journalism chops, instead spent all his time “sculpting his image” (his words, overheard), networking with editors, talking shit about his coworkers and incessantly promoting himself.

            and if you didn’t know, moxley actually PAID CASH to certain local newspapers like Global Times to write soft-ads about him this year leading up to his book launch, such as this one:

            wondering if the guys at beijing cream were his true drinking buddies or if mitch was the one to solicit them for yet more self-promotion.

            • Captainchimp

              Can you give us a specific story? Would love to hear from Mitch at some point. I’m sure he’s seen the posts.

              Who at GT was he friends with?

    3. prophetfraud

      I realize running a website is hard as hell. I get that. But what the fuck is going on with BJC? Tao, why have you become so fucking desperate these days? Who is demanding this of you? Who’s the fat fuck on that C4 show? Why? 3 Shots is a good idea, but your subjects and execution suck, and the eps keep getting worse (no light on the last one? wtf yo). In theory you’re supposed to improve with each edition.

      As for Moxley, snooze fest. He’s boring. He’s not the first one to write about getting laid, drunk and stoned. He probably thinks he’s Hunter S. in Beijing. How did he get a book deal? How did get hired at China Daily? Does anyone really like this guy? Look at the pussy shots he drinks: vanilla, spice, etc, lame!

      I’ll tell you right now, if you’re looking to write a book about “wild China” then don’t go to Beijing or Shanghai. The real action is in China’s second and third tier cities. That’s all I’m willling to share.

      • King Baeksu

        “The real action is in China’s second and third tier cities.”

        Agreed. Beijing and Shanghai are for pussies.

        I recommend “China Underground” by Zachary Mexico if you’re looking for the real deal.

      • wig

        I’m the thin pussy who hosts that show with the fat fuck. Don’t worry, we know we’re shit. One fat fuck is the least of our problems. Thanks for watching anyway.

        • maryhole

          Is the fat fuck sensitive about his weight? He looks an English version of Igantius (Confederacy of Dummies), but way stupider. You guys should do an episode where you go to McDonald’s and eat while topless.

    4. bag-o-dicks

      By the look of the comments I’d say Mitch must have fucked a lot of guys and not called them the next day.

      • Jason

        Actually, Mitch’s forte was to find migrant workers wives and try to bed them. Or working girls that had a price range of 10-60RMB. Such a shame that this complete embarrassment to the white race left Beijing intact and not in a bag. Maybe he will come back and the skull cracking pipes will great him.


          it’s a mystery to anyone how a duplicitous douchebag like mitch moxley actually left beijing with all his teeth in tact, and how a talentless douchebag like mitch moxley actually got a book deal.

    5. Ander

      Wait now~
      So all those chummy Africans on the streets of Sanlitun – most notably in front of the police station – are just wanting to deal drugs?

    6. Jake

      All these comments about his writing ability and none about the 5’6 Chinese dude who beat his ass to a pulp while he turtled and begged for mercy. Or the rampant drug addiction?

      • samIam

        Not the only time Mitch has had his grill slapped around for being a two-faced cocksucker. He packed his bags and fled Beijing in a hurry for reasons that I’ll leave to Anthony Tao to investigate (and hopefully divulge to his readers like he did to Jonathan Kos-Read and Chris Devonshire-Ellis). It’s too bad that only Beijing Cream readers will ever know the real Mitch Moxley; he’s starting a clean slate in New York and hopefully smart enough not to pull the same sneaky shit on his co-workers and compatriots as he did in China.

      • Terry

        Considering Mitch knows the identity of the person behind this…they may wanna zip it before he just lets it all out there.

    7. Even Rogers Pay

      Mitch is a decent writer, nice guy, and a Canadian! I’ve been friends with him for a few years and I don’t understand WTF these commenters are talking about. He’s not rude, or sexist, or predatory with women, or a douche, or arrogant. In fact he’s kind of a shy dude.

      Yes, we’ve all lived these stories and worse ones, in the hinterlands of rural China. Yes, he recycles some standard narratives about expats in China. But Christ, you all have a pathetic case of the Sour Grapes. Also, talking shit about people and not putting your real name on it is a true douchebag move. Bring it, trolls.

      • Jonathan Whittingham

        Fuck you blonde lady. I can smell moxley’s ejaculate on your breath. Go suck a dick

      • Rory D. in Beijing

        It’s fascinating how quickly this post got shared among Mitch’s former friends and colleagues. He really racked up a list of frenemies. Just goes to show, Mitch, you can promote your “image” all you want to the western media, but when you start strutting on a website that Beijingers actually read, it’s gonna bite you back in the ass.

        Even Rogers Pay: Anyone who has worked with Mitch knows there are 2 sides to his personality: the dapper, shit-eating-grinning, smooth-talking, glad-to-meet-you, pretend writer for editors, prospective employers and women he wants to take to bed, and the scummy, back-stabbing, fuck-you-i-already-got-what-i-wanted hack for fellow writers he betrayed, editors who didn’t give him an assignment, and women he already screwed.

        Canadian or not, you obviously only knew one side of Mitch. Consider yourself fortunate. Sour grapes? Perhaps, because nobody likes to see a scoundrel come out ahead, and Mitch clearly came out ahead – on the backs of better writers and better human beings.

      • Bob

        What you are witnessing on this thread is a group of disgruntled aspiring expat writers in Beijing wallowing in obscurity and desperate for name recognition yet lacking the right connections to achieve it, while one of their one, Mr. Mitch Moxley, has had the initiative to spend his time in China not honing his craft but cultivating an image (e.g. Cosmopolitan’s “100 most eligible bachelors in China”) and networking with all the right editors and journalists. It is a tried and true method of getting ahead in an industry that recognizes talent less than it does marketability.

        On that note, I have an advance review copy of “Apologies to My Censor: The High and Low Adventures of a Foreigner in China” and can honestly report that it is a rather uninteresting read. Mitch convinced some naive editor in New York that working as an average polisher at China Daily somehow gained him “access” into behind-the-scenes State censorship secrets – which is to say about as much access as Anthony Tao had while working at Beijing Today.

        The self-aggrandizing premise of the book revolves around Mitch acting like he was some sort of insider in China journalism, laced with superfluous descriptions of himself in rather mundane “exotic, dangerous China!” situations, exaggerated expat stories and embellished accounts of all his journalistic “accomplishments”. The writing is 8th-grade level, and utterly unmemorable. How or why Harper Perennial (Peter Hessler’s label) ever agreed to publish Mitch remains a mystery.

        My predictions for “Apologies to My Censor”: Harper Perennial will do their duty to have it reviewed in a few big papers, where it will receive tepid ratings. Mitch will hit up all his editor friends like Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore to review it in the Beijing magazines, and she will swallow her professional pride to write a glowing review as a favor for him because reviewers like Sebag-Montefiore also know the career benefits of maintaining relationships with “it” boys on big labels like Mitch. Finally, Mitch will tap into his social network of Canadian college buddies to all give it 5-star reviews on Amazon so as to fool ignorant western readers who have never been to China.

        But in the end, “Apologies to My Censor” is not a book anyone will ever read twice, or keep on their bookshelf, or discuss (except perhaps as a kind of in-joke among those expats writers personally who know Mitch). It probably won’t survive a second printing, and eventually even Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore will have moved on to the next “it author”.

        So put your knives away and don’t hate on Mitch too hard. Let him enjoy his 15 minutes. Chance are most of you have more writing talent in your little finger than Mitch does his whole tall frame, so just keep working on your own craft. Image-conscious ego maniacs like Mitch have a shelf life of only a few years, but true writing talent is forever.

        • Jonathan Whittingham

          I concur, and despite my hate filled comments I would like to close with two possible titles for Poxley’s next tome as a parting gift; either, “Apologies to my arsehole”, or the equally appealing “I’ve got a Raging Speedhorn, would you like a lick?”

        • King Tubby

          @ Bob. Good one.

          Shit. The Sebag-Montefiore brand has produced some pretty good historians.

          Poor Clarissa. It must be a case of clogs-to-clogs in three generations.

          • The Mitch Moxley Media Machine

            Bob Whoever You Are – you called it mate! The Mitch Moxley Media Machine has returned to shotgun-blast all of this month’s China expat publications with advertorials disguised as interviews in a last-ditch attempt to sell his book before HarperCollins takes it out of print. His gal-pal Sebag-Montefiore was all too happy to sycophantically provide him with a half-page spread in Time Out Beijing. And check out his new modeling portraits while you are at it; I swear Mitch and Kos-Read went to the same Ben Affleck School of Cheese.

    8. KS

      The sheer artistry of the troll gripes here is impressive, which leads me to believe you all need to get a life.

    9. GK

      After hanging out with Mitch in Beijing for 3 years I can count him as a good mate and a decent human with an above average jump shot who has never backstabbed me or other mutual friends who know him well from his China Daily years.

      While not ground breaking I’ve always found his writings to be an easy and interesting read. His Trafficked Women of Mongolia article comes to mind as some of his best work.

      Good on him for putting himself out there and having a crack at making a living as a freelance writer by relaying observations of a twenty-something living in China.

    10. real

      Mitch is one of the best & most decent guys I’ve met during many years in Beijing. Go get yours Mitch. Haters will keep hatin’

    11. David Sparkes

      Well, I hope those of you who have never met Mitch don’t take these stories seriously, as they are completely fictitious.
      Most likely, I’d say one person has signed in with multiple identities to make it look as though there are dozens of people sharing the same view.
      I knew Mitch closely Beijing and he was one of the best people I met there.
      I happen to be a journalist for a daily newspaper in Australia and I have to say, putting aside the fact I like the guy, I have a lot of respect for what Mitch has achieved professionally.
      Mitch has worked hard over the past few years to get where he is and, as anyone who reads his work will tell you, he is a terrific writer.
      Good luck with the book, Mitch.


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