Charles Custer

Journalist and Documentarian


B.A., East Asian Studies, Brown University


  • Taught and tutored students in Mandarin Chinese 
  • Directed a feature-length documentary about human trafficking in China
  • A former writer and web multimedia director for The World of Chinese Magazine
  • Written about China and Chinese culture for many publications


Charlie Custer is a former writer for ThoughtCo who wrote about China for two years. Charlie's writing about Chinese culture, language, business, and travel began in 2010 when he was working as an editor and web multimedia director for The World of Chinese Magazine. He also contributed to the company's bimonthly journals The World of Chinese: The Women Issue (Commercial Press, 2011) and The World of Chinese: The Future Issue (Commercial Press, 2011). His work appears in the China state-sponsored Global Times Newspaper,, and The Atlantic. Charlie also wrote about Asia's tech scene for media company Tech in Asia for seven years.

Charlie also wrote extensively about human trafficking in China. He directed Living with Dead Hearts (Songhua Films,2013), a feature-length documentary film about kidnapped children in China and their families. He also wrote about the problem in Kidnapped and Sold: Inside the Dark World of Child Trafficking in China, (The Atlantic, 2013).

Charlie is a longtime student of China who has done everything from celebrating Spring Festival in a small village to appearing as an expert guest on Chinese TV programs. He is also a teacher and tutor of Mandarin Chinese.


Charlie earned a Bachelor Arts (B.A.) in East Asian Studies from Brown University in 2008.


Awards and Publications



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