Ms Barbara Woodward, CMG OBE, British Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and official Champion of the Generation UK: China Network.


Barbara Woodward CMG OBE, British Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, is the official Champion of the Generation UK: China Network. 

As Champion of the network, the British Ambassador plays an invaluable role in raising awareness of the initiative and advocating its importance in building trust and understanding between the UK and China. 

Ms Barbara Woodward first came to China in 1986 as an English teacher in Wuhan. After mastering the Chinese language, she joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and worked on economic and security aspects of foreign policy across the world. She has held numerous diplomatic posts, including Deputy Ambassador to Russia, Deputy Ambassador to China and then Ambassador to China in February 2015. In 1999 Barbara was awarded an OBE for her part in securing the release of two British hostages from Chechnya. She was made a CMG in 2011. Ms Woodward says:

“Connecting British students with China experts will enable the exchange of knowledge, and will encourage further UK engagement with China. The network will help strengthen the golden era, allowing individuals to understand and benefit from it, and ensure the UK-China relationship continues to blossom.” 

Leading Lights

We have selected a number of UK nationals to join the Generation UK: China Network as Leading Lights. Leading Lights are individuals at the forefront of their respective fields and who have benefited from experience in China. These successful individuals come from a range of sectors including diplomacy, business and media.

The Leading Lights are active participants in the LinkedIn group and will attend our events as guests, keynote speakers or panellists. Interacting with the Leading Lights as well as with our invited Chinese business men and women will open up new channels for collaboration, exchange and business with China. 

Meet all of the Leading Lights

Paul Atherley: Chairman, Leyshon Resources Limited

Paul Atherley

Chairman, Leyshon Resources Limited

Paul arrived in China in 2003 when the resources sector was opening up to foreign investment. He started the first ever foreign-owned gold mine in Heilongjiang and many other energy and resource projects in China. He was the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China, and actively supports charity work such as theInspiring Women initiative led by Carma Elliot and Ambassador Barbara Woodward. He is a regular commentator on Chinese Business and Economic affairs on e.g. BBC News and CNN.

Kerry Brown: Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King's College, London.

Kerry Brown

Professor of Chinese Studies; Director, Lau China Institute, King's College, London

After studying in Japan, Kerry first came to China in 1991. He started his career as a diplomat and has held posts such as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing and Head of the Indonesia, Philippine and East Timor Section. He also worked at Chatham House as a Senior Fellow and the Head of the Asia programme, before becoming a Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. He has written numerous books on China and Chinese politics.

Tim Clissold: Author of Mr China and Asset Recovery Specialist

Tim Clissold

Author of ‘Mr China’; Asset Recovery Specialist

Tim spent two years studying Mandarin in Beijing before co-founding one of the first private equity groups in China in the 1990’s, which invested more than $400M in 20 Chinese factories. He later ran the China distressed asset investment business of Goldman Sachs and founded a carbon offset business with start-up capital from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. He is the author of ‘Mr China’, which was translated into 12 languages and won the Economist magazine’s ‘Book of the Year’.

Professor Jane Duckett

PhD FBA Director, Scottish Centre for China Research; International Dean (East Asia), University of Glasgow

When Jane was studying Modern Chinese Studies, she came to China in 1984 to spend a year at Fudan University. After graduating, she won a British Council scholarship for study in China and worked for a Shanghai law firm. She completed postgraduate study in Chinese Politics in the UK and has lectured at the universities of Manchester and York before joining the University of Glasgow in 1999. Her research on Chinese local government, health policy and welfare provision has been widely published.

Graham Earnshaw : Publisher of Earnshaw Books

Graham Earnshaw

Publisher, Earnshaw Books

After moving to Hong Kong at age 21, Graham arrived in mainland China in 1978 to work for Reuters News Agency. Graham is a businessman, writer and musician, founding publishing house Earnshaw Books in 1996. His own books include ‘On Your Own in China’ (1984) and an account of his continuing walk across China, ‘The Great Walk of China’ (2010). He has recorded a number of his own albums, including ‘Leap of Faith’ (1996) and ‘The Tao of Music’ (2013). He speaks Mandarin and Cantonese fluently.


Carma Elliot: CMG OBE, Director, British Council China

Carma Elliot CMG OBE

Director, British Council China; Minister (Culture and Education), British Embassy Beijing

After finishing her Mandarin studies at Fudan University, Shanghai, in 1984, Carma worked as diplomat across the world including in China, France and Saudi Arabia. She received an OBE for her diplomatic services in 2003 and has become one of the best-known voices for Britain in China. In 2011, she took on the role of Executive Director for Half the Sky Foundation, a major international NGO working with China’s orphan communities, and joined the British Council as the Director for China in 2013.

Carrie Gracie: BBC China Editor

Carrie Gracie

BBC China Editor

Carrie came to China in 1985 to teach English and Economics in Yantai and Chongqing, before joining the BBC in 1987. Since then, she has worked as a China correspondent and presenter for both the BBC World Service and BBC News. She has covered defining moments in Chinese history such as the death of Deng Xiaoping, the handover of Hong Kong and the Beijing Olympics. She has been awarded an Emmy for her White Horse Village project and was appointed the BBC News’s Editor for China in 2013. 

 Jim James: Entrepreneur; Founder & Managing Director, Malvern Morgan Cars Ltd. Beijing

Jim James

Entrepreneur; Founder & Managing Director, Malvern Morgan Cars Ltd. Beijing

Jim first started EASTWEST PR in Singapore, whose doors opened in China in 2006. Since then, he has started many entrepreneurial ventures in China, including the Beijing Chapter of the Global Entrepreneur Network and the British Business Awards, and sits on the Executive Committee of the British Chamber of Commerce. He has been the general distributor for Morgan sports cars in China since 2012, and served as Interim CEO for Lotus Cars in 2014. He has two daughters with his Shanghainese wife.

Max Johnson

Founder, Max J Capital

Max was the first UK student to pursue an MBA at Tsinghua University, Beijing. After graduating in 2009, Max worked as the Business Development Manager for Wogen Resources and served as the Vice-Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce. In 2013, he joined Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong as an investment banker. He now runs Max J Capital, a private investment firm engaged in business consultancy, wellness and lifestyle concepts. Max speaks fluent Russian, Polish, French and Mandarin.

James Kynge

Emerging Markets Editor, Financial Times

After coming to China in 1982 to study at Shandong University, James’ career as a researcher, journalist and businessman has revolved around China. He now works as the Emerging Markets Editor and Associate Editor of the Financial Times (FT) and is the President of the Association for Speakers of Chinese as a Second Language. His previous positions include President of, Beijing bureau chief for the FT and Principal of China Confidential, a China-focused consultancy owned by the FT.