Will Ford

Will Ford is a freelance journalist who has lived, worked, and studied in China. He is currently based in Beijing. 

Recent Articles

Talking Second-Amendment Rights in China

AP Images/Vincent Yu
I’m a U.S. citizen, and I live with Chinese, British, and Brazilian roommates in Beijing. In China, introductions tend to elicit specific responses from locals, and it’s always an interesting representation of a given country’s warped reputation. When the Brit introduces himself, he’s often labeled a gentleman. When the Brazilian shakes hands, Chinese compliment him on his country’s soccer prowess and inquire whether he can dance the Rumba. When I introduce myself as American, I’m frequently asked whether I own a gun. This occurs in various situations, regardless of the background of who asks. I say no, but that my father, who grew up on a farm, owns a small pistol and has recently taken up skeet shooting. I never thought much about it as a kid, or even now, because guns were never a big part of my childhood. Only when someone asks do I remember we had one in the house. The American familiarity with guns is tough to explain to people in China—citizen gun ownership is banned and most...