Some of the characters in Steinfeld’s book she already knew, others she searched out through her contacts.
Apart from the celebrities, she concealed their real identities. ‘Little Emperors’ is a term used in China to describe young urban men, the offspring of the one-child policy, who are the apple of their parents’ eyes, totally spoilt and pampered and lavished with clothes and toys, Steinfeld said.
But 15 months later she returned to live in London again.
Meanwhile ‘Material Girls’ refers to young urban Chinese women who are materialistic, who aspire to fame, money and fortune above moral values, and whose lives are also centred on themselves. “There were already a huge amount of books on the white guy or girl in China topic and I think the readership has moved beyond that and I also think it’s a bit crass – there is an ‘Edward Said orientalism’ to it,” Steinfeld said, relaxing over a coffee at The Marylebone Hotel, before heading off to Leeds.
“I believe people in the West have a genuine desire to understand China.
They want to know what the Chinese youth is thinking and what is going on. There are 300 million young people in China and people want to know what drives them and what their tastes are.
The only stories people get in the West about China are about pollution, censorship, free speech and human rights.