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What this blog is about

Who we are

This Blog is an initiative led by research collaborators in Guangdong Province, who are part of an international research project titled “Communication during and after COVID-19: (re)producing social inequalities and/or opportunities among African migrants in the United Arab Emirates and China.” Supported by a research grant from the Volkswagen Foundation, this international project consists of research partners from the China, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

The creators of this Blog are part of the research team that came together in January 2021 to investigate how communication has shaped different communities’ consciousness of the corona crisis and whether this crisis reinforces existing inequalities or generated new opportunities for individuals or groups of people in China.

We are scholars with different disciplinary backgrounds in Chinese Studies, Communication, and International Relations and Designing, who also belong to communities from Southern and Western Africa as well as Southern China. When the local government deemed our project sensitive to national security, we were forbidden to publish this blog until now. We are excited to share our story along with your pandemic stories.

The Team


My name is Mamelang Cynthia Mmutlwane.

I am from Botswana. I recently completed my master’s degree in Chinese Studies at Jinan University in Guangzhou.

My hobbies are cooking, hiking, reading, and writing.


Hi! My name is Ruyuan Zeng.

I am from China and currently based in Glasgow.

I finished my undergraduate study in International Politics in China and received a master’s degree in design from Glasgow.

I like listening to musicals and drawing.


My name is Tu Huynh. I am from the U.S.

I was working at Jinan University in Guangzhou when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in 2020.

Since March 2022, I have resigned from my position and returned to the U.S.

I enjoy taking long walks with friends, watching movies, and following architectural designs for small living online.


My name is Hao Han, or just Oliver.

I come from China, and I live in Guangzhou these days. I also go back to my parents’ home in Suzhou now and then.

I just graduated from a master program in International Relations.

I love watching old movies and listening to vintage music. And, there’s nothing better than lying on the couch with a black-and-white movie for company.


Hello! I am Yang Fan from Shandong Province, China.

I am currently based in Guangzhou for a MA program in International Relations.

I enjoy hiking and reading in my free time.


My name is Xiang Wenjie.

I come from Huangshi City, Hubei Province, where the COVID-19 epidemic began in China in early 2020. During that time, I was at home, so I was in close contact with many kinds of stories and information related to it.

I graduated from the University of Jinan in Shandong Province with a bachelor's degree in International Politics.

Currently, I am studying for a master’s degree in International Relations at Jinan University in Guangzhou.

My hobbies are reading and watching movies.

Our mission

Found in 2021, the Alter Voice blog is an online platform that complements the academic research that our team was conducting in China with a more personal and artistic touch. AlterVoice’s aim is to inspire action and advocacy on pandemic related issues, especially among communities that are vulnerable. Our platform amplifies the voices of those who rarely receive media attention or have opportunities to tell their stories to a wider public. It brings together original writings and artworks by individuals in our communities to share their experiences with how we all coped with COVID-19 since 2020, when cities across China were the first to be shut down and when quarantine measures were administered differently for disparate communities of people living in various localities. 

This Research Unit is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation