Stories of foreign Internet celebrities in China
By Chen Xiaoshu
Eighty years ago, American journalist Edgar Snow published "Red Star over China," giving a historic panorama from the foundation of the Communist Party of China, to the late 1930s. He was the first Western journalist to introduce a different China to the world. 
Whether it's 1937 or 2018, there's always someone trying to make the outside world better known to others. Today, a team of young foreigners and Chinese, called "The Foreigners Research Institute" (FRI), are collaborating to bring the world stories from China. 
Members of video production team "The Foreigners Research Institute" /CGTN Photo

Members of video production team "The Foreigners Research Institute" /CGTN Photo

In one year, they've worked many wonders, including 70 videos, one billion hits, and six million followers. 
They've interviewed foreigners on the streets of China on the hottest topics of the day. 
Liu Xiaoqi, content partner of FRI said, "We once interviewed a foreigner. He said that he had thought in China, every Chinese walks with a panda on the street." 
Tai Le, staff of FRI said, "The current trend is that foreigners come to China to pursue their 'Chinese Dream'. The first day when I was in Shanghai, I felt myself in a future world. Look at these subways and these people. How fashionable they are!"
To check out how a foreigner opens an online shop on e-commerce platform Taobao, the team headed to Yiwu, a city renowned for its small commodity trade and vibrant market. However, the experience challenged their previous views towards small commodities and the city. 
CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

Liu Jiaming, video editor of FRI recalled: "We had thought that the plants should be small workshops. But when we got there, we were shocked by the seven-floor building in front of us. Is that the place we are looking for? That's so amazing!"
"When we learn about China from the outside of the country, fast economic development, various cool apps as well as great opportunities seem to be all about this country. However, you still don't know much about her. What's the driving force for social development of China? Perhaps, Chinese work harder than people in many other countries in the world," Gao Yousi, chairman of FRI.
Gao is one of the pivotal players on the team. 
As a student, Gao often passed the gravestone of Edgar Snow by Weiming lake in the campus of Peking University, where he studied. He said that the Foreigners Research Institute wants to be like the first Western journalist who told the world more about China. He added: "Our core idea is to tell good stories of China and explore Chinese stories." 
The team hopes they will eventually become a true storyteller of Chinese culture someday.