Born in Japan and raised in Hong Kong before moving to the United States nearly fifty years ago, Chinese American businessman Robert Wang has a firsthand perspective of both Asian and Western cultures and their entwined history.
Since he first learned as a schoolboy how the Opium War formed the basis for modern Chinese politics and history, Wang had been fascinated by this period, which became the catalyst determining how modern China has been shaped—and hindered—by Western colonization. Even after settling in the United States, starting a family, and becoming a successful entrepreneur and a pioneer in the aerospace industry, Wang remained an ardent Sinophile, engrossed in the lessons and impact of the Opium War and its aftermath. This passion only grew as Wang took note of the modern parallels—particularly the current opioid crisis—that echo similar events and actions from this earlier period.
Wang spent years researching the history, facts, and fictions of the Opium War, talking to numerous experts on the subject, both in the United States as well as on Mainland China. In 2018 he embarked on an intensive research trip to Guangzhou (Canton), the nexus of the opium trade and the ensuing conflict, and was granted rare private tours of its museums, led by some of China’s preeminent scholars on the topic.
What he saw and learned provided an exceptional window into many of the elements that eventually found its way into Wang’s first book on the subject, The Opium Lord’s Daughter, a historical novel told from both perspectives—Chinese and Western—about this dramatic and history-altering conflict. Wang’s story takes the reader directly into a tale spanning two continents, vividly told through the perspectives of several colorful main characters whose stories serve to illuminate both the intricacies and the sweep of this critical period in history.
Wang is a father of three daughters and a proud grandfather of three, and resides in Los Angeles with his wife Cindy.